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6 H^ 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848, 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Southern 

District of New York. 

,. Shoemaker 

7 S '06 

13 Chambers Street, N. Y. 




The acute and laborious worker in the old, but still ample and green, 
fields of British Dramatic Literature, this humble labor, a first 
American edition of the imputed Plays of Shakspeare, is 

bera EespectfuUg Inscribed, 


Woodlands, South -Carolina, 
January 20, 1848. 


In undertaking to supply the American reader with an edition of the plays which have 
been ascribed to Shakspeare, but which are not usually included among his writings, the 
publishers do not, by any means, propose to decide upon their authenticity. They prefer to 
leave this question, as they find it, to future criticism and the sagacity of the reader. It is 
enough for them that the question of authorship is still under discussion, and may long re- 
main so — that some of the best cricics of the age that is passing incline to the belief that 
several, if not all, of these imputed productions, however inferior to the generally-received 
performances of Shakspeare, are nevertheless from his pen — and, that the weight of exter- 
nal testimony clearly corresponds with this opinion. For this matter, the reader will see 
the separate prefaces to the several plays, as they occur in this edition, where an endeavor 
has been made to bring together, for the purpose of facilitating the popular judgment, all 
the known facts in the history of their production and publication in past periods. The 
object of the present publishers is to afford to the general reader an opportunity, if not of 
deciding for himself upon the genuineness of these plays, at least of becoming familiar with 
their merits. Such a purpose, indeed, appears to belong particularly to the duties of a pub- 
lisher, who, though his aim be gain, is yet required to regulate his selfish desires by a due 
and equal regard to the claims of the public, and the writer whose works he brings before 
them. He stands in a relation of double responsibility ; and it seems scarcely proper that 


the publisher of Shakspeare's writings, or of any writings, should presume to settle a diffi- 
culty so important to his author, by excluding, on the merest conjectures of criticism, a 
large body of literature which has been confidently ascribed to his pen, either by his con- 
temporaries or by those nearest to him in point of time ; — and this, simply because of their 
inferiority, whether obvious or only supposed, to the average merits of his received perform- 
ances. They do not see that they enjoy the right, in the case of any author, of rejecting tes- 
timony, however inadequate as proof, at the simple instance of shrewd but conjectural criti- 
cism ; and are persuaded, in the case of so great a master, that, while the incorporation, with 
his recognised productions, of the plays which are doubtful, can by no means disparage or 
impair his acknowledged excellences, their exclusion, while any doubt exists, is an abso- 
lute wrong and injustice to the reader, who should at least be permitted to enter into a sim- 
ilar inquiry with his critic, and to decide for himself upon what is intrinsic in the discussion. 
At all events, he should be permitted to believe that he possesses all of the writings of his 
favorite, though this conviction be coupled with the misgiving that he possesses something 
more. That he should arrive at the ordinary opinion — the justice of which the present 
publishers do not propose to gainsay — that these doubtful plays are, in point of merit, far 
below those which usually complete the body of Shakspeare's writings, will not, in any 
respect, lessen the propriety — assuming it as possible that the former are really his — of 
bringing the two classes together. They may, or may not, form a part of the same great 
family — changelings, perhaps — sons of premature birth — of inferior stature and propor- 
tion — "scarce half made up," "and sent into the world before their time;" but this infe- 
riority, or even deformity, should constitute no sufficient objection to the scheme of uniting 
them in the same household. There shall be a decrepit, a mute, or an idiot, in a noble 
family, while the true heir shall be of erect and symmetrical figure, with all attributes per- 
fect and superior ; but the practice would be pronounced Scythian and barbarous, which 
should destroy summarily, or banish to a desert cave to perish, the imperfect or inferior 
progeny, because of its unhappy disparity with him upon whom the hopes of the family are 
placed. The case finds its exact parallel in these instances of premature birth and imperfect 
organization in the literary world ; and there is an equal cruelty and impolicy in our consign- 
ing to oblivion the more homely or feeble production, because it so strikingly contrasts 
with that which we have learned to study and to love. This very contrast has its uses, 
since the defects of the one more strikingly impress us with the beauties of the other ; and 
we frame our own standards of excellence quite as frequently from the contemplation of the 
humble and the faulty, as of the perfect and the high. 

In the recognition of this opinion, the literary student has a leading interest, since he is 
naturally curious to see in what manner his predecessor has worked — from what small be- 
ginnings, against what obstructions, and with what inferior tools. It is important, indeed, 
that he should see where, and how frequently, the great master has faltered, or has fallen, 
in his experiments. The very inequalities of the exemplar commend him somewhat more 
to our sympathies, as they tend to bring him within the laws of a humanity which is noto- 
riously imperfect. We are pleased to see how much was toil and trouble — how much was 
care and anxiety — how much was industry and perseverance — how much was in mortal 
powers, in the secret of his successes ; — to discover that it was not all Genius — all inspira- 
tion — all the fruit of a special gift of Heaven, to a chosen individual, which no follower 
may hope to share. We are pleased to see how, feebly, step by step, he has continued to 
struggle, onward and upward, until, from awkwardness, he arrives at grace ; from weak- 
ness, he has grown to strength ; from a crude infancy, he has risen into absolute majesty 
and manhood. Those inequalities which declare the transition periods in the progress of 
the mind, and show the natural but laborious advance of the thinking faculties, from senti- 
ment to idea, and from idea to design and structure, are particularly grateful to the student, 
who, delighting in the excellences of a favorite author, acquires a personal and familiar in- 
terest in him, when thus permitted to follow him into his workshop — to trace his gradual 



progresses — the slow marches of his intellect through its several stages of acquisition and 
utterance, infancy preparing the way for childhood, childhood for youth, and youth for man- 
hood, as naturally as in the physical world ; and the curiosity which requires to behold the 
singular processes of each individual self-training, the results of which have been eminence 
and fame, is the fruit of a just ambition, enlivened by instincts, which make it equally profit- 
able and pleasant to survey the modus operandi of the great genius, not yet fairly conceiving 
the peculiar mission which follows from his endowment, yet preparing, step by step, for 
the consummation of its objects. It is, indeed, by the faults and errors, rather than by the 
more symmetrical achievements of the masters, that we improve. The perfect models, 
seen by themselves, and totally uncoupled with those qualifying exuberances and failings, 
which are the necessary shadows to their successes, are rather more likely to discourage 
us by their manifest superiority, than invite by their examples. The difficulty of the model 
might impair our hope to excel or equal it, were we not permitted to know how frequently 
its author has failed, and how many abortive efforts have fallen from his hands, before he 
attained the degree of success in which he felt that his art could go no farther. We are 
encouraged when the laborious artist takes us into his studio, and reveals to us the painful 
difficulties which he has been compelled to overcome — the rudeness of his own first con- 
ceptions and designs — the feeble prurience of his childish fancies — the unsymmetrical 
crudenesses of his thought, and the huge, ungainly fragments that lie about his workshop, 
which prove the pains, the labors, and frequent miscarriages, which preceded the perfect 
birth. This study of the artist in his cell, or of the author in his garret — the familiarity 
thus acquired with his tools, and a proper idea of the toils, the obstacles, and the trials, 
which his patience, courage, study, and genius, have finally overcome, is, indeed, the true 
field of research for all those who would follow in his footsteps ; — discouraging the vain 
and feeble, humbling the presumptuous, and fully unfolding, to the resolute and endowed 
worker, the true nature of that destiny for which he was chosen. It is mere dilettantism 
alone, which shrinks from such a development — preferring only the knowledge of the per- 
fect results of labor, without being troubled with its processes. The mind of the true 
worker is best seen in these very processes. The genuine student — and to such alone is it 
permitted to behold and to appreciate the highest objects and excellences of art — prefers 
this survey, in connexion with the final results attained, simply as it unveils the peculiar 
. processes of an individual mind : giving birth to an original thought, a new truth, shaped 
by imagination into a form which the world finally receives as a model and a law. 

It was the misfortune of Shakspeare, perhaps, that his early critics and commentators — 
to say nothing of their more modern and recent successors — have not been willing to ac- 
knowledge these considerations. Regarding their idol, most properly, as, perhaps, the most 
various wonder that mortal genius ever displayed, they were not willing that he should be 
found mortal in any respect. They entertained the vulgar notion that, in order to enhance 
his merits, they were to depreciate his advantages — overlooking the notorious truth, that 
all successful art, no matter what has been its social fosterings or privileges, must still de- 
pend upon self-education — a training of the inner nature, adapted particularly to the indi- 
vidual characteristics of the man, and to be conceived and carried on wholly by one's self. 
The achievements of Shakspeare, according to these philosophers, were to derive their value 
from the fact that his genius was totally unassisted by the usual school acquisitions, and his 
successes were to flow to him in spite of a condition of social life more than commonly un- 
friendly and adverse. He was to be wretchedly poor and destitute of training, and it was 
for accident alone, or a call of Providence rather, to prompt his mind to that direction, by 
which it was to effect its wondrous performances. Banished from his native hamlet, as a 
profligate and deer-stealer, he was to wander off to London as a link-boy, and the merest 
appanage of a theatre ; and, all of a sudden, he was to confound the world with the wonders 
of a genius to which his domestic fortunes had shown themselves hostile to the last. Most 
of this history is untrue, and much of it is absurd. The life of Shakspeare is gradually to 


be rewritten. The earnest activity of such workers as Dyce, Collier, Knight, and the gen- 
tlemen connected with the Shakspeare Society, in England, will continue to make discov- 
eries, such as they have already made, which will most probably lead us to such an approxi- 
mation of the true, in Shakspeare's career, as, at least, to relieve his biography of the gross 
exaggerations and errors which have disfigured it. We shall probably learn, as in part we do 
already, that his family was one of good repute and condition, though somewhat reduced in 
fortune, and not so much stinted but that his education was quite as good as could be afforded 
in that part of England during his boyhood — that he was not only somewhat informed in 
Greek and Latin, as Jonson, indeed, tells us, — though the wilful biographers of Shakspeare 
have perversely construed his line — 

" And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek," — 

into the possession of neither — but that he was probably, in some degree also, acquainted 
with the French and Italian, and visited the continent, at some early period of his life — 
making a personal acquaintance at Venice with the Rialto, and receiving his prompting for 
that most perfect of all love stories, Romeo and Juliet, at the very tomb of the Capulets in 
Verona. It is also highly probable that, on leaving the grammar-school of Stratford, he 
passed into the office of an attorney, and picked up that familiarity with legal phrases, which 
his writings betray to a greater extent than those of all his contemporary dramatists to- 
gether. Here, it is probable — we will suppose at fifteen or sixteen — that his mind re; 
ceived its first dramatic direction. Several of his townsmen seem to have been players — 
several of those who afterward appeared in his pieces — the famous Burbage among them ; 
and Stratford had its theatre when John Shakspeare, the father of William, was bailiff of 
the town. It might be that the office of the father procured for the son some peculiar the- 
atrical privileges. Here, then, at this period, relieving the daily toils of an attorney's office 
by an occasional nocturnal frolic with the players, at the expense of Sir Thomas Lucy's 
park at Charlecote, he most probably commenced his first feeble career as a dramatic author. 
To suppose that he wrote any of the plays usually ascribed to him, at this early period, or, 
indeed, at any period of his life before his twenty-fifth year, unless Titus Andronicus and 
Pericles,* is almost an absurdity. These all betray, in addition to the manifest possession 
of the highest genius, the equal maturity of experience and reflection, — the fruits of con- 
templation — a knowledge only derivable from long and active association among men — an 
art made confident by frequent successes — a taste polished and refined by repeated and long 
exercise — an imagination invigorated by habitual training — a fancy curbed in its excesses 
by attrition with rival wits, and a constant familiarity with books from the best hands, not 
to dwell upon the singular knowledge of dramatic situation and stage effect, which his more 
mature pieces exhibit — a knowledge which could only arise, as in the case of Sheridan 
Knowles, from a long practice in theatricals. These possessions are not gifts, but acquisi- 
tions. They are the work of time and practice. They are not to be found in youth, even in 
the case of the highest genius, since they contemplate human standards which fluctuate — 
arts which depend upon a social condition, and a knowledge which is not derived from the 
natural or external world, but the capricious world of man, and the appreciation of his finite 
characteristics and conditions. 

If, then, the great masterpieces of Shakspeare, such as his Othello, Macbeth, and Hamlet, 
were not likely to have been the work of his boyhood — not likely to have been produced 
before his twenty-fifth year at least — in what manner did he employ his genius during the 
ten years which preceded this period ? To suppose that he remained idle, pursuing a mere 

* Shakspeare went to London in his twenty-third year, and Titus Andronicus appeared soon after, and 
hecame instantly popular. Indeed, it was one of the best pieces that had yet appeared on the English 
stage, however much we may despise it now ; and the very horrors and stateliness for which we condemn 
it, were the peculiar and distinguishing features of the English drama at that period, and commended it 
more especially to the taste of its unlettered audience. In Shakspeare's subsequent improvement, it is his 
merit, as it was that of Chaucer, to have lifted his people with him. 


vegetable life in Stratford, from his fifteenth to his twenty-third year, when he went to Lon- 
don, would be a strangely unreasonable supposition. It is, ordinarily, about the fifteenth 
year that the poetic germ, in persons thus endowed, usually begins to exhibit itself with 
zeal and activity. To suppose that he did nothing until his twenty-fourth year, when Titus 
Andronicus first appeared, and that his first attempt should place him above all his prede- 
cessors, from whom he must have learned the very first rudiments of his art, is quite im- 
probable. Rejecting Titus Andronicus wholly, is it not equally unreasonable to imagine that 
he leaped to perfection at a single bound, armed in all the panoply, not merely of genius, 
but of thought, study, and experience, like Minerva, full clad and grown, from the thigh of 
Jupiter ? How much more reasonable to assume that his youth was employed in those 
crude performances which have been ascribed to him by his contemporaries and their imme- 
diate successors ; — that it was with his Locrines and Titus Andronicuses that he first began 
his career in tragedy, and that some of the feeble comedies in this collection were the first 
fruits of his boyish embraces with the comic muse. There is nothing improbable or unrea- 
sonable in the conjecture, even if you show, not only that these crude productions are im- 
measurably inferior to his great works, but that they are totally unlike them in all the pecu- 
liar characteristics by which the master makes himself known. In these, a mere beginner, 
for the first time practising in an unfamiliar art, he naturally wrote in the fashion of the 
times. The horrors of Locrine and Titus Andronicus — the unbroken stateliness of the 
lines, the swelling pomp of the diction, the free use of the heathen mythology, and the ex- 
travagant rant of all the characters — were the common characteristics of all dramatic wri- 
ting at this period ; but it is no less remarkable than true, that, though in these respects 
partaking of all the vices common to the dramatic authors of the time, the author of Titus 
Andronicus was still their superior : and this very production was as far superior, in its real 
merits and proofs of genius, to most of its contemporaries, as Shakspeare's better dramas 
are superior to it. 

We have said that the deficiency of these works, in the usual characteristics of Shak- 
speare — though we are far from admitting this deficiency in all respects — is by no means 
to be regarded as an argument against their legitimacy. The opinion is not entertained 
without serious deliberation. The truth is, that a young author seldom writes from himself 
at first. He is more apt to write like anybody but himself. He subdues and suppresses 
himself. He does not feel himself. He is compelled to look out of himself for models and 
authorities, before he can properly unfold himself, and he naturally turns his regards upon 
the writers who are most popular — whose books are most cried up by his neighbors, and 
whose stature most imposingly rises upon his young and timid imagination. This very un- 
folding of self is the great business of life — never wholly effected, even with the utmost dili- 
gence, until the author has reached the mellow period of middle life, and seldom entirely then. 
We have numerous illustrative examples of this history in modern times, with which the reader 
is familiar. Who, for example, ever looked to the feeble ballads of Walter Scott, poor imita- 
tions of Monk Lewis, for the splendid creations of Marmion and Ivanhoe ? Who, in the boy- 
ish ditties and college exercises of Lord Byron, so cruelly but justly cut up by Brougham, in 
the Edinburgh Review, would have looked for signs of that genius which afterward brought 
forth Manfred, Childe Harold, and Cain ? Or who, in Cloudesley, the work of Godwin's 
senility, would recognise the daring and vigorous writer of Caleb Williams and St. Leon ? 
The inequalities between the imputed and the acknowledged writings of Shakspeare are 
hardly greater than these contrasted performances of writers in our own period, and the 
dawnings are equally unlike the characteristics of the day which followed. The beginnings 
of a young writer are necessarily feeble, and, mostly, grossly imitative. His first aim is not 
idea or structure. It is the power of voice only — such as his peculiar art requires — the 
command of language in oratorical array. This very necessity makes him imitative of va- 
rious authors ; — and he never becomes in any degree original, until he has acquired such a 
flexibility of speech as to enable him to clothe his thoughts, as they arise, with utterance. 


Gradually, his original vein unfolds itself. You have, amid masses of common-place, an 
occasional germ which betrays freshness. You see a certain peculiarity of thought and 
manner, and possibly glimpses of design and conception, which are only buried where they 
occur, but which the author will be apt, finally, to extricate from the places where they 
were first planted, as in a nursery, and set out elsewhere in a connexion which shall enable 
them to flourish appropriately, and to their most legitimate effect. 

In these plays, whether by Shakspeare or not, will be found several instances of the germ, 
which has afterward been developed nobly in his subsequent performances. Here and there 
a line or thought, and here the glimpses of a scene or scheme, which the timid and unprac- 
tised hand of the boy-beginner had not courage or patience to pursue to its complete suc- 
cesses in the first premature endeavors of his muse. Let us pursue this point a little farther, 
by a reference to the supposed order in which his plays are thought to have been produced. 
This conjectural arrangement, by the way, is exceedingly illusory. It resolves itself, apart 
from the evidence of the author himself, into mere guesswork, since, even the first publish- 
ing of a piece affords us no certain assurance that there are not others in his possession that 
do not precede it in point of time. Nor are the intrinsic qualities of the piece any better 
guides, since the experience of all literature shows the frequent fact of the failure following 
the successful effort, quite as commonly as it precedes it. But, taking these estimates for what 
they are worth, let us see how the case appears. We have before us the several conjec- 
tures of Chalmers, Malone, and Drake. Titus Andronicus was produced upon the stage. 
when Shakspeare was twenty-three years of age. The Comedy of Errors, according to 
Chalmers and Drake, appeared first in 1591 ; and Malone says 1592. This would make 
Shakspeare, who was born in 1564, twenty-seven or twenty-eight years of age. Now, we 
are free to declare the opinion, that, of the two pieces, Titus Andronicus is immeasurably 
the best, and exhibits an immense superiority over the Comedy of Errors, in all the essential 
proofs of poetry and character. Hamlet is supposed to have been produced (Chalmers and 
Drake) in 1597 ; Malone, more probably we think, makes it 1600, or nine years after the 
production of the Comedy of Errors, and twelve years after that of Titus Andronicus. Now, 
if we compare the relative gain of Shakspeare's genius, in this stretch, whether of nine or 
twelve years, as illustrated by the superiority of his Hamlet over the Comedy of Errors, 
what may we assume it to have been during the interval from his twenty-seventh year, 
when the Comedy was produced, and the period of his life at Stratford, from fifteen to 
twenty-three, when it is scarcely rational to suppose that he lay completely idle ? He who 
examines carefully the plays in this collection, will find no such wonderful inequality be- 
tween them, and the Titus Andronicus, Comedy of Errors, and Pericles — pieces which 
any attempt to wrest from Shakspeare is eminently absurd — as exists between these latter 
pieces and the great works which make him the wondrous master that he is. In the three 
plays just mentioned, his now-admitted works, there is greater polish, symmetry, dexterity, 
and worldly knowledge ; but the germs of poetry are not more frequent, nor more decided, 
nor the proofs of originality and invention more certain or satisfactory. The acknowledged 
plays of Shakspeare, thirty in number, including Pericles and Titus Andronicus, occupy, in 
the period of their production, a space of time ranging from 1588 to 1614 — a period of 
twenty-seven years. This, if he began at twenty-four, the period when Titus Andronicus 
was produced, and ceased to produce in 1613, when he left the theatre, and retired from 
London to Stratford, would show an average production of one play to every eight months. 
How many, then, should he have written during the long period of probation, when, if we 
receive not the writings of this volume, he did absolutely nothing. Supposing him, how- 
ever, to have been equally industrious and prolific, as Ben Jonson and others of his contem- 
poraries tell us that he was, is it not highly probable that he carried with him a considerable 
stock to London. He went thither in 1587. Two things may be assumed for him in this 
connexion, namely, that he would seek publication as soon as possible, and that he would 
bring out his best production first. Titus Andronicus, accordingly, appeared in 1588-'9 ; 


Pericles, according to Drake, in 1590 ; and, as we have seen, the Comedy of Errors appeared 
the year after. These were, no doubt, the best pieces in our young poet's collection — Titus 
Andronicus being really the best of these. Their success may have stifled his inferior pro- 
ductions in the birth, or have prompted him to put them forth indifferently or anonymously, 
under the obvious necessity of not risking the renown which he had already won, by works, 
the crudities of which his now-rapidly growing experience enabled him to see. His Love's 
Labor's Lost, another of these inferior productions, but less offensive by its crudities, and 
more decidedly a work of art, was suffered to appear in 1591 (according to Drake), 1592 
(Malone), 1594 (Chalmers). The conjecture of Drake is the most reasonable, though we 
must repeat that nothing can be more unsatisfactory or doubtful than these speculations. 
We need not continue them. Taking them for what they are worth — and they embody no 
improbabilities — and we have reason to assume, that he whose progress in dramatic art had 
been so moderate between the period when he produced these latter pieces, and the first, 
might naturally enough have written the works in the following collection at a still earlier 
date. We insist that the characteristics of the pieces above mentioned are not much more 
decidedly like those of the great — the full-grown — Shakspeare, than the performances 
which have been imputed and denied. But, our opinion is, that the prolific youth took with 
him to London the germs of all these early plays — the Comedy of Errors, as well as Peri- 
cles, and Titus Andronicus, the Love's Labor's Lost, and the Two Gentlemen of Verona — 
that he there altered and amended them, as his increasing experience with the stage and 
people counselled, and that the inequalities of thought and language, to be found in all these 
pieces, and which so constantly compel the critics to cry aloud that they see two different 
hands at work, are due entirely to these graftings, made by the more practised hand, upon the 
imperfect growth of its more feeble and inexperienced planting. Doubtless, if time had 
been allowed him — were not his muse too prolific and too fond of the provocation of new 
scenes and subjects, which diverted him from works, the topics of which could no longer 
excite his imagination — we should have seen these pieces furbished up in the same manner, 
and have been compelled, by the obvious impress of the master, shown here and there by a 
decisive thought and fancy, and such lines as betray a grace which genius knoAvs how to 
snatch from nature without the assistance of art, to admit the still-abortive production as 
from the unquestionable hand of Shakspeare. These pieces were thus suffered to find their 
way to the stage and the public, without the paternal care which they could no more 
reward ; or, it is possible that they preceded even Titus Andronicus in performance, and that 
they were brought out by his friends, the players, at Stratford, or were carried up, by the 
same hands, to London, even before he adventured to the great city himself, and were finally 
left to their fate, in consequence of that condition of things in the theatrical world, a proper 
knowledge of which would tend to account for that otherwise singular indifference which 
the dramatic authors of that time have shown toward their productions. A few words on 
this head, in explanation, may not be unadvisable. 

There was really no such indifference of the author, to the fate of his writings, as our 
frequent wonder and lamentations have unjustly made to appear. The old dramatists were 
as jealous of their fame, their name, and the fortunes of their pieces, as the most sen- 
sitive writers now. By constant squabbles and controversies, which not unfrequently grew 
from words to blows, they proved themselves to be true members of the genus irritabile 
ratum. A world of pamphlets, essays, critiques, prefaces, and epigrams, remain to us, 
illustrating this belligerent disposition, from the pens of a host of angry combatants ; and 
when their pieces were denounced and driven from the stage, they rushed to the press, and 
made their final appeal — their temper quite as apparent as their logic — to the judgments 
of a higher class, or to the more deliberate, the sober second thought, of the very critics 
by whom the pieces had been censured. The plays, accordingly, which we have received 
from the hands of the authors themselves, are those, chiefly, which failed upon the stage. 
These, consequently, are likely to have come to us in the most perfect condition. That 


such should be the case, is not a subject of surprise to those who remember that the legit- 
imate mode of dramatic publication is from the stage, and not from the press. A suc- 
cessful play was a property of the theatre, for which it was usually written, not unfre- 
quently under contract with the manager ; and it derived its value almost entirely from the 
fact that it was kept from the press. It was thus preserved as a novelty, and always bore 
an air of freshness when it was produced. The great cause of the decline of modern theat- 
ricals, is to be found in the fact that the press has made the people familiar with the pieces 
played ; and those who attend the theatre, accordingly, go only to discriminate between the 
styles of actors — thus substituting one art for another — to witness the pageantry, hear the 
music, and see the company. In withholding the play from the press, the manager equally 
withheld it from the author. The latter had sold entirely the right of property in his pro- 
duction, and no longer held any control over its destination. The work of his hands was 
thus entirely released from his jurisdiction. It could be lopped or lengthened at the pleasure 
of the manager, played or suppressed, altered in title, and subjected to alterations and interpo- 
lations, to suit particular exigencies and occasions ; and these alterations were as frequently 
confided to the hands of strangers as to those of the original author. In this way, it is not 
unreasonably supposed, that Shakspeare himself has given his peculiar impress to the works 
of inferior artists, and that his own great productions have been impaired by the unskilled 
efforts of common workmen, to adapt his pieces to the common standard, or the particular 
occasion. The great body of English dramatic literature never found its way to the press 
at all, until in the ascendency of the puritans, when the theatres being overthrown and 
abolished, the property ceased to have a value in the original and legitimate form of publi- 
cation, and was sold to, or seized upon by, the early publishers, to whose carelessness and 
ignorance we owe the wretched mangling to which the finest strains of tragic song have 
been subjected, and from which the original and perfect versions have, to this day, but im- 
perfectly recovered. To any one who has ever seen a first edition of Shakspeare 's Hamlet, 
it is scarcely necessary to say, that the piece is not to be recognised at all, compared with 
the restored production, faulty as that still is, which we now possess. The breaking up of 
the theatres led to the dispersion equally of players and plays. The latter, scattered abroad 
in various hands, were lost and destroyed in immense numbers. Where they survived the 
tender mercies of such appreciating critics as the Cook of Warburton, they still suffered 
from a treatment which nothing but the native hardihood of their constitutions enabled them 
to withstand. Neither the sway of the Stuarts, nor that of Cromwell, was favorable to the 
higher forms of art and poetry. The divine genius of Milton succumbed under the one, and 
was compelled to work as a politician only for the other ; while the bald comedy of an infe- 
rior school, to which a vastly inferior talent was the minister, failed utterly to compensate 
the nation for the manhood, the soul, the vigorous, sinewy, and deeply-energetic blood and 
courage, of the earlier and the nobler muse. That Dryden must be recognised as a redeem- 
ing worker in the more modern period, will not impair the justice of its general condemna- 
tion. When the plays of the old dramatists found their way to the press at first, they 
enjoyed none of the advantages of editorship. The players themselves, unless in the case 
of their own writings, which they seldom edited, were indifferent as to what became of pieces 
which no longer yielded them a livelihood. The proprietors gave or sold them to the press, 
without feeling or affection ; and the publishers, if not so indifferent as the players, were 
less capable of correct readings of the manuscript. Titlepages were lost, blurred, or oblit- 
erated ; titles themselves were changed, to suit the whim of the publisher, or meet the 
fashions of the times. The plays were hurried through the press, with all their imperfec- 
tions on their heads. The original draughts of the author — the copies of the player, cov- 
ered with his private marks or opinions — were published just as the printer found them, 
defaced with extraneous matter, which was perversely incorporated with the text. Verse 
was printed as if it were prose, and prose as verse. Stage directions were mingled with the 
matter, lengthening the line, and baffling the sense ; and even the cues of actors, and their 


sometimes whimsical and mischievous comments, were studiously set forth to the reader, in 
the body of the play, to the equal disparagement of the sense and symmetry of the piece. 
It is only of late days that the press has been repairing its own mischief, in the case of the 
early dramatists ; whose fortunes have been thus peculiar, from the peculiar characteristics 
of their profession, and not from any such wholesale indifference to the awards of fame as 
has been so thoughtlessly ascribed to them. English and German criticism, with an inge- 
nuity and industry which can scarcely be too highly commended, has done wonders in re- 
trieving many noble writings from oblivion, by correcting the mistakes, and amending the 
decisions, of a preceding age ; restoring the purity of the text of favorite authors — particu- 
larly Shakspeare — so as to afford us a tolerably fair substitute for writings which no substi- 
tute, not of an author's own choosing, can possibly hope to render altogether satisfactory. 

The undoubted plays of Shakspeare, published in his lifetime, were Othello, Troilus and 
Cressida, King Lear, Hamlet, Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado about Nothing, Mid- 
summer Night's Dream, Merchant of Venice, the first and second parts of Henry IV., 
Henry V., parts II. and III. of Henry VI., Love's Labor's Lost, Romeo and Juliet, and 
Richard II. and III. To these are to be added Pericles and Titus Andronicus. The editions 
thus published were all imperfect, apparently from copies surreptitiously obtained ; and 
some, as in the case of Hamlet, from reporters at the theatre, relying chiefly on the ear for 
the text, during the rapid and passionate enunciation of the performers. Both proprietor 
and author were equally interested in arresting such a practice ; but it was one for which 
the crude and imperfect legislation of that day — scarcely much bettered, in respect of copy- 
right, in our own — could suggest no remedy. 

The pieces in the collection which follows — the Two Noble Kinsmen excepted — were 
also printed, either with his name or his initials, in the lifetime of Shakspeare. An edition 
of his works, put forth after his death, by Heminge and Condell, his friends, associate pro- 
prietors with him of the Globe theatre, contained (making the same exception) the same 
body of plays : and the dedications and prefaces to this edition are supposed, with reason, 
to have been from the pen of Ben Jonson, his intimate friend, and most profound and dis- 
criminating admirer. They and he ought to have known whether these plays could prop- 
erly, or should, be imputed to his pen. They include them without comment, and, seem- 
ingly, without doubt or misgiving. 

The plays which have been imputed to Shakspeare, but which the critics have concluded 
to regard as doubtful, may be divided into two classes. The one consists of those plays 
only which have been (wholly or in part) ascribed to his pen, and included, at an early pe- 
riod, among his works ; the other, of those which a vague tradition, no longer to be followed, 
has assigned him, or which have been assumed to be his, in consequence of certain supposed 
resemblances to his writings, in thought and manner, which have been discovered in them 
by ingenious criticism. The present publication is confined wholly to the former class. It 
comprises seven dramas. The first of these — the Two Noble Kinsmen — is supposed to be 
from the joint hands of Shakspeare and Fletcher. The first act, indeed, has been confidently 
ascribed to the pen of the former, not merely by the critics, on the strength of its peculiar 
merits, but by a tradition of the playhouse. On this point, our opinion, which is offered 
with great deference, will be found in the immediate introduction to the play in question. 
The six other plays are in the order of the old folio of Heminge and Condell : the London 
Prodigal ; the History of Thomas Lord Cromwell; Sir John Oldcastle — Lord Cobham; 
The Puritan, or the Widow of Watling Street ; a Yorkshire Tragedy ; and the Tragedy of 

y The history of these six plays, so far as it is now known to us, will be found in the sepa- 
rate introductions, as they occur at the opening of each, and will not require farther notice. 
Indeed, most of these introductions have been rendered copious, somewhat at the expense 
of the "general introduction," suggesting views and arguments which might have been 
examined here. They will not, accordingly, require our farther consideration. 


Of the second class of imputed plays, which do not appear in this volume, the list is quite 
as large as the former. It comprises " Arden of Feversham" — a piece of considerable merit ; 
" the Reign of King Edward III." — a work so like Shakspeare's, in the respects of versifi- 
cation and manner, that it is difficult to hit upon any writer who could so happily have imi- 
tated him ; " George a-Greene, the Pinner of Wakefield" — which is now supposed to have 
been written by Robert Greene, but upon the most slender of all sorts of evidence ; " Fair 
Emma" — which Mr. Knight assigns to a period subsequent to the death of Shakspeare ; 
" Mucedorus," of which we know nothing, and can express no opinion, — Tieck and Horn, 
the German critics, pronounce it a youthful production of Shakspeare ; Mr. Knight gives us 
a brief analysis of the story, describes it as a lively play, with some few passages of merit, 
but, otherwise, speaks of it slightingly ; — " The Birth of Merlin" — which, in its first known 
edition, that of 1662, was announced as the joint production of Shakspeare and Rowley; 
and " The Merry Devil of Edmonton" — a performance which, as Mr. Knight justly remarks, 
is that of a true poet, whoever he may be. 

These seven plays, constituting the whole number of those, the ascription of which to 
William Shakspeare rests chiefly upon opinion, may be made, hereafter, to constitute the 
materials for an additional volume to that which is now offered to the public. In compiling 
and preparing such a collection for the press, the object will be, as in the present instance, 
not to assert, or even to assume, that the writings in question are those of Shakspeare, or so 
to argue as in anywise to give a direction to the question which denies their legitimacy, bur 
simply to enable the reader to be sure that he loses nothing, even of what is puerile and 
immature, in the writings of so great a master. It is thought better and safer to impute to 
him, erroneously, those productions to which no other author presents an equally reasonable 
claim, than to leave the reader in doubt whether some of the performances of his favorite 
have not been withheld from his possession. 



This play was first printed in 1634, with the fol- 
lowing title : " The Two Noble Kinsmen : presented 
at the Black Friers by the King's majesty's servants, 
with great applause : written by the memorable wor- 
thies of their time, Mr. John Fletcher and Mr. Wil- 
liam Shakspeare, gent., and printed at London by 
Thos. Cotes, for John Waterstone, and are to be solde 
at the signe of the Crowne in Paul's churchyard — 
1634." In the first folio edition of the works of 
Beaumont and Fletcher, in 1647, the Two Noble Kins- 
men did not appear. It is reprinted in the second 
folio edition, with some slight alterations from the 

The story is taken from the " Knight's Tale," in 
the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer. It is certainly a 
very fine performance ; marked by considerable ine- 
qualities of execution, but lifted by frequent passa- 
ges of great nobleness, delicacy and power. In 
some portions, the plot is managed with skill and 
spirit; the slightest suggestions of Chaucer's muse 
being seized upon and brought out with the happiest 
and most dramatic effect. In other parts, we have 
to regret that the dramatist has slurred over some 
of the points made by the old poet, which might have 
been illustrated with rare scenic ability. The open- 
ing scene, considering the action only, is quite wor- 
thy of Shakspeare's hand, even if it did not employ 
it. It presents a dramatic spectacle of great and 
tragic interest. Other scenes correspond with this 
in merit : we may instance that in which the broth- 
ers assist each other in putting on their armor before 
the duel, and that in which they appear severally be- 
fore their favorite deities with their invocations and 
offerings. These scenes must have shown very im- 
pressively upon the stage. They unite high tragic 
dignity with a progressive dramatic interest, which, 
while it raised the expectations of the audience, filled 
their hearts with solemnity and emotion. 

The story is one of considerable difficulties, being 
better suited, in some of the most interesting por- 
tions, for narrative and epic, than for dramatic pur- 
poses. Some of the most important events are con- 
veyed to the spectator by narration, rather than in 
action. It is enough to indicate the combat between 

the rivals and their friends, and the final catastrophe 
which determines the fate of the triumphant party. 
Another of the obstacles to the complete dramatic 
success of this tragedy, is that want of personal 
prominence and individual superiority in either of 
the chief characters, on which so much of the suc- 
cess of a play depends. The rival youths, Palamon 
and Arcite, are distinguished rather by the descrip- 
tive passages of the author, than by their own per- 
formances, or, in these, only in the minor and less 
impressive portions of the piece. There is no such 
inequality of character, between the princes, as will 
permit the audience to choose between them. The 
spectator knows not which to make his favorite, and 
dare not yield his sympathies to one of the parties, 
lest he should do wrong to the claims of the other. 
They are both equally pure, brave, and virtuous — 
equally accomplished in arms, and alike graceful and 
winning in deportment. To decide between them, 
the author himself finds impossible, and can only 
extricate himself from his embarrassment by throw- 
ing the catastrophe upon the gods — an accident de- 
termining the success of one of the princes, after the 
prize has actually been awarded to his opponent. 

The question of the authorship of this play is one 
much more difficult to decide than its merits. An 
old tradition of the play-house reports that the 
first act was written by Shakspeare, and the rest by 
Fletcher. The tradition, with the titlepage of the 
quarto of 1634, are therefore the only direct external 
evidence in favor of the notion that Shakspeare had 
a hand in its production. The evidence is almost 
equally doubtful, indeed, of Fletcher's participation 
in it. The first editors of the collected edition of 
Beaumont and Fletcher's works omit the Two Noble 
Kinsmen, withseventeen other plays, because it had 
been printed before in separate form. It is included 
in the second edition of 1679, in order, as they al- 
lege, that the writings of these authors may be " per- 
fect and complete." That they were not prepared to 
make it so, with proper circumspection, may be infer- 
red from the fact that they included in this collection 
one, at least, of the known performances of another 
writer. The truth is, the external testimony is very 



nearly a blank in regard to the claims of both drama- 
tists. It may be Shakspeare's, or it may be Fletcher's. 
The claim of the latter, from intrinsic evidence, seems 
to me the better founded. On the same evidence, could 
we rely upon it solely — were it not, indeed, the most 
uncertain and most illusory of all modes of determin- 
ing authorship — we should say that Shakspeare 
never wrote a syllable of the piece before us, though 
much of it is directly imitated from Shakspeare. 
Yet we must express ourselves with becoming defer- 
ence. Mr. Pope supposes that the hand of Shak- 
speare may be discerned in some of the scenes. Dr. 
Warburton believes that he " wrote the first act, but 
in his worst manner." Mr. Coleridge says boldly, 
though, as he was wont to say many things, adven- 
turously : " I can scarcely retain a doubt as to the 
first act's having been written by Shakspeare." 
Charles Lamb speaks of some of the scenes as giving 
" strong countenance to the tradition that Shakspeare 
had a hand in this play They have a luxuri- 
ance in them which strongly resembles Shakspeare's 
manner, in those parts of his plays where, the prog- 
ress of the scene being subordinate, the poet was 
at leisure for description." The German critics, who 
claim to know more about Shakspeare than the Eng- 
lish, and who certainly have shown a just sympathy 
with his genius, by their fine and instinctive appre- 
ciation of it, concur in this opinion ; but their spec- 
ulations, as well as those which we have quoted, are 
wholly conjectural, and based upon assumptions, few 
of which will bear the test of a close examination. 
As we have seen, we have not a tittle of external 
evidence available at the present moment, which 
can furnish any sufficient clues to the mystery. A 
glance at the internal proofs satisfies us that the 
Two Noble Kinsmen — a noble play, worthy of 
Fletcher, Chapman, or Ben Jonson— is yet not Shak- 
speare's. It does not show, to us at least, any satis- 
factory marks of his footstep. Ex pede Herculem. 
The versification is not his. In spite of what Mr. 
Lamb has said on this subject, it lacks his flow and 
vivacity. The great marks of Shakspeare are his 
equal profundity and lucidity. He rises always with 

a wing from his subject, however low that may be, 
as we see birds skim along the surface of the ground, 
just above and without touching it. His most difficult 
thoughts, ordinarily, are those which flow most mu- 
sically ; and the more comprehensive the range of 
his passions and ideas, they seem to choose for them- 
selves an utterance of special clearness in due degree 
with the natural obstacles of the conception. Now, 
let the reader examine the metaphysical verse of the 
Two Noble Kinsmen, and he will see what embar- 
rassments occur to the utterance of the writer in pro- 
portion to the subtlety of the sentiment. The near- 
est approach which he makes to Shakspeare's ac- 
knowledged writings, is to portions of such plays as 
Troilus and Cressida, of which the piece before us 
seems partly an imitation. Nor are these difficulties 
of utterance, when profound thoughts are to be ex- 
pressed, calling for a new phraseology, to be account- 
ed for by supposing that this was a production of our 
great dramatist in his youth. The Two Noble Kins- 
men is not the work of an apprentice. It shows the 
familiarity of a master with his tools — one who 
would have done greatly better, had he trusted to 
himself wholly, avoiding anything like imitation. 
His versification, if not that of Shakspeare, has 
force, readiness, compactness and animation. It is 
distinct and manly, if wanting something in freedom ; 
and the sentiment is declared with confidence and 
promptness, as the voice of one who has been long 
accustomed to speak. Were there less promptness, 
less skill and spirit, we might better be prepared to 
admit Shakspeare's agency in the piece at a time 
when he had not yet learned the extent and 
strength of his own resources. It is too confident a 
performance for the inexperienced writer, and too 
wanting in the higher freedoms of music and imagin- 
ation, for Shakspeare, in the day of his mature man- 
hood. It is very certain that Shakspeare never con- 
ceived the clumsy copy of his Ophelia which appears 
in this performance. Is it probable that he would 
have participated in the composition of a play in 
which his associate should presume upon such a 
gross caricature ? 


K ] 1 1 i 1 i 



Theseus, Duke of Athens. 

Palamon, ) The Two Noble Kinsmen, in love with 

Arcite, ) Emilia. 

Perithous, an Athenian general. 

Valerius, a Theban nobleman. 

Six valiant knights. 



Wooer to the Gaoler's Daughter. 



Gerrold, a schoolmaster. 

to the Gaoler. 

Hifpolyta, bride to Theseus. 

Emilia, her sister. 

Three Queens. 

Gaoler's Daughter, in love with Palamon. 

Servant to Emilia. 

A Taborer, Countrymen, Soldiers, Nymphs, fyc. 

SCENE, — Athens ; and in part of tlie First Act, 



Enter Hymen, with a torch burning ; a Boy, in a white 
robe, before, singing, and strewing flowers ; after 
Hymen, a Nymph, encompassed in her tresses, bear- 
ing a wheaten garland ; then Theseus, between two 
other Nymphs, with wheaten chaplets on their heads ; 
then Hippolyta, the bride, led by Perithous, and 
another holding a garland over her head, her t7-esses 
likewise hanging ; after her, Emilia, holding up her 
train. 1 

Roses, their sharp spines being gone. 
Not royal in their smells alone r 

But in their hue ; 
Maiden-pinks, of odor faint, 
Daisies smell-less, yet most quaint, 
And sweet thyme true. 

Primrose, first-born child of Ver, 
Merry, spring-time's harbinger, 
With her bells 2 dim ; 

l This is the original sta<*e-direction ; with the exception 
that Hippolyta, by a manifest error in the old copies, is led 
by Theseus. 8 Query : Harebells 1 


Oxlips in their cradles growing, 
Marigolds on death-beds blowing, 
Larks'-heels trim. 

All, dear Nature's children sweet, 
Lie 'fore bride and bridegroom's feet, 

Blessing their sense ! [Strew flowers. 

Not an angel of the air, 3 
Bird melodious, or bird fair, 

Be 4 absent hence. 

The crow, the slanderous cuckoo, nor 
The boding raven, nor chough hoar, 5 

Nor chatt'ring pie, 
May on our bridehouse perch or sing, 
Or with them any discord bring, 

But from it fly ! 

Enter three Queens, in black, with veils stained, with 
imperial crowns. The first Queen falls down at the 
foot of Theseus ; the second falls down at the foot of 
Hippolyta ; the third before Emilia. 

1 Queen. For pity's sake, and true gentility, 
Hear and respect me ! 

2 Queen. For your mother's sake, 

And as you wish your womb may thrive with fair 
Hear and respect me ! [ones, 

3 Queen. Now for the love of him whom Jove 

hath marked 
The honor of your bed, and for the sake 
Of clear virginity, be advocate 
For us, and our distresses ! This good deed 
Shall raze you out o' the book of trespasses 
All you are set down there. 

Thes. Sad lady, rise ! 

Hip. Stand up ! 

Emi. No knees to me ! 
What woman I may stead that is distressed, 
Does bind me to her. 

Thes What's your request ? Deliver you for all. 

1 Queen We are three queens, whose sovereigns 
fell before 
The wrath of cruel Creon ; who endured 
The beaks of ravens, talons of the kites, 
And pecks of crows, in the foul fields of Thebes. 
He will not suffer us to burn their bones, 
To urn their ashes, nor to take th' offence 
Of mortal loathsomeness from the blessed eye 
Of holy Phcebus, but infects the winds 

3 Angel is used for bird. Dekker calls the Roman eagle 
"the Roman angfl." — Gifford's Massinger, vol. i., p. 36. 

4 Be. The early copies, is. 

5 Clough he is the reading of the old editions. 



With slench of our slain lords. Oh, pity, duke ! 
Thou purger of the earth, draw thy feared sword, 
That does good turns to the world ; give us the bones 
Of our dead kings, that we may chapel them ! 
And, of thy boundless goodness, take some note, 
That,for our crowned heads, we have no roof 
Save this, which is the lion's and the bear's, 
And vault to everything ! 

Thes. Pray you kneel not ! 
I was transported with your speech, and suffered 
Your knees to wrong themselves. I have heard the 

Of your dead lords, which gives me such lamenting 
As wakes my vengeance and revenge for them. 
King Capaneus was your lord : the day 
That he should marry you, at such a season 
As now it is with me, I met your groom 
By Mars's altar ; you were that time fair, 
Not Juno's mantle fairer than your tresses, 
Nor in more bounty spread ;• your wheaten wreath 
Was then nor thrashed, nor blasted. Fortune at you 
Dimpled her cheek with smiles. Her'cles, our kins- 
(Then weaker than your eyes) laid by his club ; 
He tumbled down upon his Nemean hide, 
And swore his sinews thawed. Oh, grief and time, 
Fearful consumers, ye will all devour ! 

1 Queen. Oh, I hope some god, 

Some god hath put his mercy in your manhood, 
Whereto he '11 infuse power, and press you forth 
Our undertaker ! 

Thes. Oh, no knees ; none, widow ! 

Unto the helmeted Bellona use them, 
And pray for me, your soldier. — Troubled I am. 

[Turns away. 

2 Queen. Honored Hippolyta, 

Most dreaded Amazonian, that hast slain 

The scythe-tusked boar; — that, with thy arm as 

As it is white, wast near to make the male [strong 

To thy sex captive ; but that this thy lord 

(Born to uphold creation in that honor 

First nature styled 2 it in) shrunk thee into 

The bound thou wast o'erflowing ; at once subduing 

Thy force and thy affection ; — soldieress, 

That equally canst poise sternness with pity, 

Who now, I know, hast much more power on him 

Than ever he had on thee ; who own'st his strength, 

And his love too, who is a servant 3 for 

The tenor of thy speech ; dear glass of ladies, 

Bid him, that we, whom flaming war doth scorch, 

Under the shadow of his sword may cool us ! 

Require him he advance it o'er our heads ; 

Speak 't in a woman's key, like such a woman 

As any of us three ; weep ere you fail ; 

Lend us a knee ; 

But touch the ground for us no longer time 

Than a dove's motion, when the head's plucked off! 

Tell him, if he in the blood-sized 4 field lay swoll'n, 

1 " Nor in more bounty spread her," is the old rending. 
The omission equally helps the sense and the measure. 

2 I should prefer to read " stoled it in," that is, dressed 
or habited in, — meaning the masculine dignity with which 
man was endowed, as superior, at the creation, and with 
which, though an Amazon, the queen of Theseus must not 

3 Servant, attendant, one who even now waits to hear 
what you have to say. 

-» Blood stained. Size or sizing, is a glutinous ground 
employed by painters. 

Showing the sun his teeth, grinning at the moon, 
What you would do ! 

Hip. Poor lady, say no more ! 

I had as lief trace this good action with you 
As that whereto I'm going, and never yet 
Went I so willing way. 5 My lord is taken, 
Heart deep with your distress. Let him consider ; 
I'll speak anon. 

3 Queen. Oh, my petition was 

[Kneels to Emilia. 
Set down in ice, which by hot grief uncandied 
Melts into drops ; so sorrow wanting form 
Is pressed with deeper matter. 

Emi. Pray stand up ; 

Your grief is written in your cheek. 

3 Queen. Oh, woe ! 

You cannot read it there ; here, through my tears, 
Like wrinkled pebbles in a glassy stream, 
You may behold them ! Lady, lady, alack, 
He that will all the treasure know o' the earth, 
Must know the centre too. He that will fish 
For my least minnow, let him lead his line 
To catch one at my heart. Oh, pardon me ! 
Extremity, that sharpens sundry wits, 
Makes me a fool. 

Emi. Pray you, say nothing ; pray you ! 

Who cannot feel nor see the rain, being in't, 
Knows neither wet nor dry. If that you were 
The ground-piece of some painter, I would buy you, 
To instruct me 'gainst a capital grief indeed ; 
Such heart-pierced demonstration ! — but, alas, 
Being a natural sister of our sex, 
Your sorrow beats so ardently upon me, 
That it shall make a counter-reflect 'gainst 
My brother's heart, and warm it to some pity 
Though it were made of stone ; pray have good 
comfort ! 

Thes. Forward to the temple ! leave not out a jot 
Of the sacred ceremony. 

1 Queen. Oh, this celebration 
Will longer last, and be more costly, than 

Your suppliants' war ! Remember that your fame 
Knolls in the ear o' the world. What you do quickly 
Is not done rashly ; your first thought is more 
Than others' labored meditance ; your premeditating 
More than their actions :but, (oh Jove !) your actions, 
Soon as they move, as ospreys do the fish, 5 
Subdue before they touch. Think, dear duke, think 
What beds our slain kings have ? 

2 Queen. What griefs our beds, 
That our dear lords have none ! 

3 Queen. None fit for the dead. 
Those that with cords, knives', drams, 6 precipitance, 7 
Weary of this world's light, have to themselves 
Been death's most horrid agents ; — human grace 
Affords them dust and shadow. 

1 Queen. But our lords 

Lie blistering 'fore the visitating 9 sun, 
And were good kings, when living. 

Thes. It is true : and 1 will give you comfort, 
To give your dead lords graves. The which to do, 
Must make some work with Creon. [doing: 

1 Queen. And that work now presents itself to the 

6 Query : willingly ? 6 Osprey, or ospring. the sea-eagle. 

7 Dram, in the sense of drug ; suicide, by poison. 

8 This is usually printed — 

" Those that with cords, knives, drams, precipitance." 
We receive " cords," &c, as genitive cases to "precipitance." 

9 Query : vegetating 1 



Now 't will take form. The heats are gone to-mor- 
Then bootless toil must recompense itself [row ; 
With its own sweat. Now, he's secure, 
Nor dreams we stand before your puissance, 
Rinsing /our holy begging in our eyes, 
To make petition clear. 

2 Queen. Now you may take him, 
Drunk with his victory. 1 

3 Queen. And his army full 
Of bread and sloth. 1 

Thes. Artesius, that best know'st 

How to draw out, fit to this enterprise 
The prim'st for this proceeding, and the number 
To carry such a business ; forth and levy 
Our worthiest instruments, whilst we despatch 
This grand act of our life, this daring deed 
Of fate in wedlock ! 

1 Queen. Dowagers, take hands ! 
Let us be widows to our woes ! Delay 
Commends us to a famishing hope. 

All. Farewell ! 

2 Queen. We come unseasonably ; but when could 

Cull forth, as unpanged judgment can, fitt'st time 
For best solicitation ? 

Thes. Why, good ladies, 

This is a service whereto I am going, 
Greater than any war ; 2 it more imports me 
Than all the actions that I have foregone, 
Or futurely can cope. 

1 Queen. The more proclaiming 

Our suit shall be neglected, when her arms, 
Able to lock Jove from a synod, shall 
By warranting moonlight corslet thee. Oh, when 
Her twinning 3 cherries shall their sweetness fall 4 
Upon thy tasteful lips, what wilt thou think 
Of rotten kings, or blubbered 5 queens ? what care 
For what thou feel'st not, — what thou feel'st being 

To make Mars spurn his drum ? Oh, if thou couch 
But one night with her, every hour in't will 
Take hostage of thee for a hundred, and 
Thou shalt remember nothing more than what 
That banquet bids thee to. 

Hip. Though much I like^ 

You should be so transported, as much sorry 
I should be such a suitor ; yet I think 
Did I not, by the abstaining of my joy, 
Which breeds a deeper longing, cure their surfeit, 
That craves a present medicine, I should pluck 
All ladies' scandal on me : therefore, sir, 
As I shall here make trial of my prayers, 
Either presuming them to have some force, 
Or seeing 7 for aye their vigor dumb, prorogue 

1 See the speech in Hamlet, where Hamlet, forbearing to 
elay the king at his prayers, proposes to take him " when he 
is drunk," &c, as his father had been taken " when full of 
bread," &c. 

* War. The early copies, was. 

3 Other copies read twining. Twinned, is the proper 

* Fall — an active verb. 
6 Weeping. 

t> In former editions, " Though much unlike," &c. She ad- 
dresses Theseus, and means to say, though it pleases her, his 
passion, and though it makes her sorry to have such a 
painful visit to him, yet she is compelled to join with the 
suitors, even to the delay of her own happiness. As it for- 
merly read, the sense was wanting. 

This business we are going about, and hang 
Your shield afore your heart, about that neck 
Which is my fee, and which I freely lend 
To do these poor queens service ! 

All Queens. Oh, help now J 

Our cause cries for your knee. [To Emilia. 

Emi. If you grant not 

My sister her petition, in that force, 
With that celerity and nature, which 
She makes it in, from henceforth I'll not dare 
To ask you anything, nor be so hardy 
Ever to take a husband. 

Thes. Pray stand up J 

I am entreating of myself to do 
That which you kneel to have me. Perithous, 
Lead on the bride ! Get you and pray the gods 
For success and return ; omit not anything 
In the pretended celebration. Queens, 
Follow your soldier, as before. Hence you, 
And at the banks of Aulis meet us with 
The forces you can raise, where we shall find 
The moiety of a number, for a business 
More bigger looked ! — Since that our theme is haste, 
I stamp this kiss upon thy currant lip. 
Sweet, keep it as my token ! Set you forward ; 
For I will see you gone. 

[Exeunt toward the Temple, 
Farewell, my beauteous sister ! Perithous, 
Keep the feast full ; bate not an hour on 't ! 

Per. Sir, 

I'll follow you at heels ; the feast's solemnity 
Shall want 8 till your return. 

Thes. Cousin, I charge you 

Budge not from Athens ; we shall be returning 
Ere you can end this feast, of which I pray you, 
Make no abatement. Once more, farewell all. 

1 Queen. Thus dost thou still make good the tongue 

o' the world. 

2 Queen. And earn'st a deity equal with Mars. 

3 Queen. If not above him ; for, 

Thou, being but mortal, mak'st affections bend 
To godlike honors ; they themselves, some say, 
Groan under such a mastery. 

Thes. As we are men, 

Thus should we do ; being sensually subdued, 
We lose our humane title. Good cheer, ladies ! 

Now turn we toward your comforts. [Exeunt. 


Enter Paiamon and Akcite. 

Arc. Dear Paiamon, dearer in love than blood, 
And our prime cousin, yet unhardened in 
The crimes of nature ; let us leave the city, 
Thebes, and the temptings in't, before we further 
Sully our gloss of youth ! 
And here to keep in abstinence were 9 shame 
As in incontinence : for not to swim 
In the aid of the current, were almost to sink ; 
At least to frustrate striving ; and to follow 
The common stream, 'twould bring us to an eddy 
Where we should turn or drown ; if labored 10 through, 
Our gain but life and weakness. 


1 " Sentencing for aye," is the language of former cop- 

8 Query: wait? 

9 " We shame," in former copies. 

10 "Labor through," is the old reading. 



Pal. Your advice 

Is cried up with examples. What strange ruins, 
Since first we went to school, may we perceive 
Walking in Thebes ! Scars, and bare weeds, 
The gain o' the martialist, who did propound 
To his bold ends, honor and golden ingots, 
Which, though he won, he had not ; and now flurted 1 
By peace, for whom he fought, — who then shall offer 
To Mars's so-scorned altar ? I do bleed 
When such I meet, and wish great Juno would 
Resume her ancient fit of jealousy, 
To get the soldier work ; that peace might purge 
For her repletion, and retain anew 
Her charitable heart, now hard, and harsher 
Than strife or war could be. 

Arc. Are you not out ? 

Meet you no ruin but the soldier in 
The cranks and turns of Thebes ? You did begin 
As if you met decays of many kinds : 
Perceive you none that do arouse your pity, 
But th' unconsidered soldier ? 

Pal. Yes ; I pity 

Decays where'er I find them ; but such most, 
That, sweating in an honorable toil, 
Are paid with ice to cool 'em. 

Arc. 'Tis not this 

I did begin to speak of; this is virtue 
Of no respect in Thebes. I spake of Thebes, 
How dangerous, if we will keep our honors, 
It is for our residing ; where every evil 
Hath a good color ; where every seeming good's 
A certain evil ; where not to be even jump 2 
As they are here, were to be strangers, and 
Such things to be mere monsters. 

Pal. It is in our power, — 

Unless we fear that apes can tutor us — to 
Be masters of our manners. What need I 
Affect another's gait, which is not catching 
Where there is faith ? or to be fond upon 
Another's way of speech, when, by mine own, 
I may be reasonably conceived, — saved too, 
Speaking it truly ? Why am I bound, 
By any generous bond, to follow him 
Follows his tailor — haply so long, until 
The followed make pursuit ; Or, let me know, 
Why mine own barber is unblessed with him ; 
My poor chin too, for 'tis not scissored just 
To such a favorite's glass ? What canon's there 
That does command my rapier from my hip, 
To dangle 't in my hand ; or to go tiptoe 
Before the street be foul ? Either I am 
The fore-horse in the team, or I am none 
That draw i' the sequent trace ! These poor slight 

Need not a plantain ; that which rips my bosom 
Almost to the heart's — 

Arc. Our uncle Creon. 

Pal. He !— 

A most unbounded tyrant, whose successes 
Make Heaven unfeared, and villany assured, 
Beyond its power there's nothing ; — almost puts 3 

l Flurt — to snap the fingers derisively. We may read 

- Jump — just — exactly. 

3 This passage is ordinarily printed : — 

•' A most unbounded tyrant, whoee successes 
Make Heaven unfeared, and villany assured. 
Beyond its power ; thero's nothing almost puts," &c. 
Seward suggested the punctuation which we have adopted, 

Faith in a fever, 4 and deifies alone 
Voluble chance — who only attributes 
The faculties of other instruments 
To his own nerves and act; commands men's service, 
And what they win in't, boot and glory too — 
That fears not to do harm — good dares not — let 
The blood of mine thats sib 5 to him be sucked 
From me with leeches : let them break and fall 
Off me with that corruption ! 

Arc. Clear-spirited cousin, 

Let's leave his court, that we may nothing share 
Of his loud infamy ! for [still] our milk 
Will relish of the pasture, and we must 
Be vile or disobedient ; not his kinsmen 
In blood, unless in quality. 

Pal. Nothing truer ! 

I think the echoes of his shames have deafed 
The ears of heav'nly justice : widows' cries 
Descend again into their throats, and have not 
Due audience of the gods. — Valerius ! 
Enter Valerius. 

Val. The king calls for you ; yet be leaden-footed, 
Till his great rage be off him ! Phoebus, when 
He broke his whipstock, and exclaimed against 
The horses of the sun, but whispered to 
The loudness of his fury. 

Pal. Small winds shake him. 

But what's the matter ? 

Vol. Theseus (who where he threats appals) hath 
Deadly defiance to him, and pronounces [sent 

Ruin to Thebes ; who is at hand to seal 
The promise of his wrath. 

Arc. Let him approach ! 

But that we fear the gods in him, he brings not 
A jot of terror to us. Yet what man 
Thirds his own worth (the case is each of ours) 
When that his action's dregged with mind assured 
'Tis bad he goes about ? 

Pal. Leave that unreasoned ! 

Our services stand now for Thebes, not Creon. 
Yet, to be neutral to him, were dishonor, 
Rebellious to oppose ; therefore, we must, 
With him, stand to the mercy of our fate, 
Who hath bounded our last minute. 

Arc. So we must. 

Is't said this war's afoot ? or it shall be, 
On fail of some condition ? 

Val. 'Tis in motion ; 

The intelligence of state came in the instant 
With the defier. 

Pal Let's to the king ! 6Were he 

A quarter carrier of that honor which 
His enemy comes in, the blood we venture 

in the third line ; but by leaving the plural nominative suc- 
cesses he left the remainder of the sentence unintelligible — 
at least to modern readers, who require strict grammatical 

* Thus Mr. Knight I prefer to restore successes, as essen- 
tial to the rhythm, and, by the omission of the letter 5 from 
makes, in the next line, to repair the grammatical hurts 
which are complained of. I have also changed the punctu- 
ation ; though the last three lines, which I have left un- 
touched, are still very obscure, and are susceptible of im- 

* Theobald reads it " faith in a fear," and I think with great 
propriety,— -to the manifest improvement of the verse, and 
to the equally evident elevation of the sense. 

6 Sib — kin. , 

6 Previous editions read, " Who were he," thus rendering 
the line unmusical, without helping the sense. 



Should be as for our health ; which were not spent ; 
Rather laid out for purchase. But alas, 
Our hands advanced before our hearts, what 1 will 
The fall o' the stroke do damage ? 

Arc. Let th' event, 

That never-erring arbitrator, tell us 
When we know all ourselves ; and let us follow 
The becking 2 of our chance ! [Exeunt. 

Enter Perithous, Hippolyta, and Emilia. 

Per. No further .' 

Hip. Sir, farewell ! Repeat my wishes 

To our great lord, of whose success I dare not 
Make any timorous question ; yet I wish him 
Excess and overflow of power, an't might be, 
To dure 3 ill-dealing fortune. Speed to him ! 
Store never hurts good governors. 

Per. Though I know 

His ocean needs not my poor drops, yet they 
Must yield their tribute there. My precious maid, 
Those best affections that the Heavens infuse 
In their best-tempered pieces, keep enthroned 
In your dear heart .' 

Emi. Thanks, sir .' Remember me 

To our all-royal brother ! for whose speed 
The great Bellona I'll solicit : and 
Since, in our terrene state petitions are not 
Without gifts understood, I'll offer to her 
What I shall be advised she likes. Our hearts 
Are in his army, in his tent ! 

Hip. In 's bosom ! 

We have been soldiers, and we can not weep 
When our friends don their helms, or put to sea, 
Or tell of babes broached on the lance, or women 
That have sod their infants in (and after eat them) 
The brine they wept at killing 'em ; then if 
You stay to see of us such spinsters, we 
Should hold you here for ever. 

Per. Peace be to you, 

As I pursue this war ! which shall be then 
Beyond further requiring. [Exit. 

Emi. How his longing 

Follows his friend ! Since his depart, his sports, 
Though craving seriousness and skill, past slightly 
His careless execution, where nor gain 
Made him regard, or loss consider ; but 
Playing 4 one 5 business in his hand, another 
Directing in his head, his mind nurse equal 
To these so diff'ring twins ! Have you observed him 
Since our great lord departed ? 

Hip. With much labor, 

And I did love him for't. They two have cabined 
In many as dangerous, as poor a corner ; 
Peril and want contending ; they have skiffed 
Torrents, whose roaring tyranny and power 
V th' least of these was dreadful ; and they have 
Fought out together, where death's self was lodged ; 
Yet fate hath brought them off. Their knot of love 
Tied, weaved, entangled, with so true, so long, 
And with a finger of so deep a cunning, 

i How will. 

2 Qu. : Beckon? or beckoning? 

3 Dure. So the original, for endure. Some read cure ; 
others, dare. 

* Should not plying be the word instead of playing? 
6 One is suggested by M. Mason. The original has ore. 

May be outworn, never undone. I think 
Theseus can not be umpire to himself, 
Cleaving his conscience into twain, and doing 
Each side like justice, which he loves best. 

Emi. Doubtless, 

There is a best, and Reason has no manners 
To say it is not you. I was acquainted 
Once with a time, when I enjoyed a playfellow ; 
You were at wars when she the grave enriched, 
Who made too proud the bed ; — took leave o' th' 

(Which then looked pale at parting) when our count 
Was each eleven. 

Hip. 'Twas Flavina. 

Emi. Yes. 

You talk of Perithous and Theseus' love : 
Theirs has more ground, is more maturely seasoned, 
More buckled with strong judgment, and their needs 
The one of th' other may be said to water 
Their intertangled roots of love ; but I 
And she (I sighed and spoke of) were things inno- 
Loved, for we did, and, like the elements [cent ; 
That know not what, nor why, yet do affect 
Rare issues by their operance, — our souls 
Did so to one another. What she liked, 
Was then of me approved ; what not, condemned ; 
No more arraignment. The flower that I would 

And put between my breasts (oh, then but begin- 
To swell about the blossom) she would long 
Till she had such another, and commit it 
To the like innocent cradle, where phcenix-like 
They died in perfume. On my head no toy 
But was her pattern ; her affections 6 (pretty, 
Though happily her careless wear) I followed 
For my most serious decking. Had mine ear 
Stolen some new air, or at adventure hummed one 
From musical coinage, why, it was a note 
Whereon her spirits would sojourn (rather dwell on) 
And sing it in her slumbers ; this rehearsal, 
Which every innocent wots well, comes in, 
Like old importment's bastard, has this end, 
That the true love 'tween maid and maid may be 
More than in sex dividual. 

Hip. You're out of breath ; 

And this high speeded pace is but to say, 
That you shall never, like the maid Flavina, 
Love any that's called man. 

Emi. I am sure I shall not. 

Hip. Now, alack, weak sister, 
I must no more believe thee in this point 
(Though in't I know thou dost believe thyself) 
Than I will trust a sickly appetite, 
That loaths even as it longs. But sure, my sister, 
If I were ripe for your persuasion, you 
Have said enough to shake me from the arm 
Of the all-noble Theseus ; for whose fortunes 
I will now in and kneel, with great assurance, 
That we, more than his Perithous, possess 
The high throne in his heart. 

Emi. I am not 

Against your faith ; yet I continue mine. [Exeunt. 

6 Affections — what she affected — liked* 

* Affections in the sense of affectations, — but pretty ones, 
and so gracefully and happily worn as to prompt my serious 




A battle struck irithin ; then a retreat ; flourish. Then 
enter Theseus, victor ; the three Queens meet him, 
and fall on their faces before him. 

1 Queen. To thee no star be dark ! 

2 Queen. Both Heaven and earth 
'Friend thee for ever ! 

3 Queen. All the good that may 
Be wished upon thy head, I cry " amen" to't ! 

Thes. Th' impartial gods, who, from the mounted 
View us, their mortal herd, behold who err, 
And in their time chastise. Go and find out 
The bones of your dead lords, and honor them 
With triple ceremony ! Rather than a gap 
Should be in their dear rites, we would supply't. 
But those we will depute which shall invest 
You in your dignities, and even 1 each thing 
Our haste does leave imperfect : so adieu, 
And Heaven's good eyes look on you ! — What are 
those ? 2 [Exeunt Queens. 

Herald. Men of great quality, as may be judged 
By their appointment ; some of Thebes have told us 
They are sisters' children, nephews to the king. 

Thes. By the helm of Mars, I saw them in the war, 
Like to a pair of lions, smeared with prey, 
Make lanes in troops aghast. I fixed my note 
Constantly on them ; for they were a mark [me, 

Worth a god's view ! What prisoner was't that told 
When I inquired their names ? 

Herald. With leave, they're called 

Arcite and Palamon. 

Thes. 'Tis right ; those, those. 

They are not dead? 

Herald. Nor in a state of life. Had they been 
When their last hurts were given, 'tis possible 
They might have been recovered ; yet they breathe, 
And have the name of men. 

Thes. Then like men use 'em ! 

The very lees of such, millions of rates 
Exceed the wine of others. All our surgeons 
Convent 3 in their behoof ; our richest balms, 
Rather than niggard, waste ! Their lives concern us 
Much more than Thebes is worth. Rather than have 

Freed of this plight, and in their morning state, 
Sound and at liberty, I would them dead ; 
But, forty thousand fold, we had rather have them 
Prisoners to us than death. Bear 'em [in] speedily 
From our kind air (to them unkind), and minister 
What man to man may do ! — for our sake more ! 
Since I have known frights, fury, friends' behests, 
Love's provocations, zeal, a mistress' task, 
Desire of liberty, a fever, madness, 
Hath set a mark which Nature could not reach to 
Without some imposition — sickness in will 
Or wrestling strength in reason-for our love 
And great Apollo's mercy — all our best 
Their best skill tender ! — Lead into the city: 
Where, having bound things scattered, we will post 
To Athens 'fore our army. [Exeunt. 

1 Even — make even. 

2 Here we are to suppose the bodies of the wounded Ar- 
cite and Palamon to be borne along. 

3 Convent for convene, assemble. 


Enter the Queens with the hearses of their Kings, in a 
funeral solemnity, fyc. 
Urns and odors bring away, 
Vapors, sighs, darken the day ! 
Our dole more deadly looks than dying ! 
Balms, and gums, and heavy cheers, 
Sacred vials filled with tears, 
And clamors through the wild air flying : 
Come, all, sad and solemn shows, 
That are quick-eyed Pleasure's foes J 
We convent naught else but woes. 
We convent, &c. 
3 Queen. This funeral path brings to your house- 
hold's grave : 4 
Joy seize on you again ! Peace sleep with him ! 

2 Queen. And this to yours ! 

1 Queen. Yours this way ! Heavens lend 

A thousand differing ways to one sure end ! 

3 Queen. This world's a city, full of straying 

streets ; 
And death's the market-place, where each one meets. 

Exeunt severally. 



Enter Gaoler and Wooer. 

Gaoler. I may depart 3 with little while I live : 
Something I may cast to you, not much : Alas ! 
The prison I keep, although it be for great ones, 
They seldom come. Before one salmon, you 
Shall take a number of minnows. I'm given out 
To be better lined than 't can appear to me 
Report is a true speaker. I would I were, 
Really, that I am delivered to be. 
Marry [but] what I have — be't what it will — 
I will assure upon my daughter at 
The day o' my death. 

Wooer. Sir, I demand no more 

Than your own offer ; and I will estate 
Your daughter in what I've promised. 

Gaoler. Well ! 

We'll talk more of this when the solemnity 
Is past : but have you a full promise of her? 
When that shall be seen, I tender my consent. 

Wooer. I have, sir ; — here she comes. 
Enter Daughter. 

Gaoler. Your friend and I 

Have chanced to name you here on the old business : 
But no more of that now ! Soon as the court-hurry 
Is over, we will make an end of it. 
I' the meantime look to the two prisoners, 
Tenderly ;— I can tell you they are princes. 

Daughter. These strewings for their chamber. It 
is pity 
They are in prison, and [yet] 'twere pity that 
They should be out. I do think they've patience 

4 Household's grave. So the quarto. The ordinary read- 
ing is household graves. Each king had one grave.* 

* So Mr. Knight ;— and yet the " household graves" were 
those of the family. The plural seems to me the more an- 
tique and the more legitimate reading. It affords that free- 
dom from the literal which poetry most prefers. 

5 Depart with— part with. 



To make adversity ashamed. The prison, 
Itself, is proud of them ; and they have all 
The world in their chamber. 

Gaoler. They are famed to be 

A pair of absolute men. 

Daughter. By my troth I think 

[That] Fame but stammers them. They stand a 
Above the reach of report. [grees 1 

Gaoler. I have heard them 

Reported, in the battle, to have been 
The only doers. 

Daughter. Ay, 2 most likely, 

For they are noble sufferers. I marvel how 
They would have looked, had they been victors, that 
With such a constant nobleness 3 enforce, 
A freedom out of bondage, making [of] misery 
Their mirth, and [of] affliction [but] a toy 
To jest at. 

Gaoler. Do they so ? 

Daughter. It seems to me, 

They've no more sense of their captivity, 
Than I of ruling Athens. They eat well, 
Look merrily, discourse of many things, 
But nothing of their own straits 4 and disaster j 
Yet. sometimes, a divided sigh, martyred, 
As 'twere in the deliverance, will break 
From one of them ; when t' other, presently, 
Gives it so sweet 5 rebuke , that I could wish 
Myself a sigh to be so chid, or at least, 
A sigher to be comforted. 

Wooer. I ne'er saw 'em. 

Gaoler. The duke himself comes private 6 in the 
And so did they ; [but] what the reason of it, [night, 
I know not. — Look [you] yonder [where] they are ! 
That's Arcite [that] looks out. 

Enter Palamon and Arcite above. 
Daughter. No, sir, that's Palamon : 

Arcite's the lower of the twain. You may 
Perceive a part of him. 

Gaoler. Go to, — leave 6 pointing ! 

They'd not make us their object. Out of 7 sight. 

Daughter. It is a holiday to look on them ! 
Lord, Lord ! the difference of men. 8 [Exeunt. 

Enter Palamon and Arcite, in prison. 9 

Pal. How do you, noble cousin ? 

Arc. How do you, sir ! 

Pal. Why, strong enough to laugh at misery, 

1 Grees — Seward reads " grief" and Mr. Knight follows 
him. Green, or grese, means steps or stairs, and may mean 
degrees. Either of these makes sense of the passage, which 
grief does not. 

2 Previous editions read " nay." The 6ense of the speech 
requires the alteration. 

3 Previous copies read, " nobility." 
* Former copies read, " restraints." 

5 " So sweet a rebuke." elsewhere. 

6 " Privately," in Knight and Seward's edition. 

I & Z r ,r P S nS - } These °"-. ""** *> not 
affect the sense, are demanded by the verse. The whole 
scene which Mr. Knight prints as prose is in the usual dra- 
matic blank verse, and is so printed by Mr. Seward. I have 
thrown in, here and there, a particle or preposition, where 
the measure seemed to require it. 

9 The position of Palamon and Arcite in the prison, with 
the power of observing what passes in the garden when 
Emilia enters, implies a double action which requires the 
employment of the secondary stage. See Othello, Act v. 

And bear the chance of war yet. We are prisoners 
I fear for ever, cousin. 

Arc. I believe it ; 

And to that destiny have patiently 
Laid up my hour to come. 

Pal. Oh, cousin Arcite, 

Where is Thebes now ? where is our noble country ? 
Where are our friends and kindred ? Never more 
Must we behold those comforts ; never [more] see 
The hardy youths strive for the games of honor, 
Hung with the painted favors of their ladies, 
Like tall ships under sail ; then start amongst 'em, 
And, as an east wind, leave 'em all behind us 
Like lazy clouds, whilst Palamon and Arcite, 
Even in the wagging of a wanton leg, 
Out-strip the people's praises, win the garlands, 
Ere they have time to wish 'em ours. Oh, never 
Shall we two exercise, like twins of honor, 
Our arms again, and feel our fiery horses, 
Like proud seas under us ! Our good swords now, 
(Better the red-eyed god of war ne'er wore) 
Ravished our sides, like age, must run to rust, 
And deck the temples of those gods that hate us. 
These hands shall never draw them out like lightning, 
To blast whole armies more ! 

Arc. No, Palamon, 

These hopes are prisoners with us : here we are, 
And here the graces of our youths must wither, 
Like a too timely spring. Here age must find us, 
And, which is heaviest. Palamon unmarried. 
The sweet embraces of a loving wife, 
Laden with kisses, armed with thousand Cupids, 
Shall never clasp our necks ! no issue know us ; 
No figures of ourselves shall we e'er see, 
To glad our age, and like young eagles teach them 
Boldly to gaze against bright arms, and say, 
Remember what your fathers were, and conquer ! 
The fair-eyed maids shall weep our banishment, 
And, in their songs, curse ever-blinded Fortune, 
Till she for shame see what a wrong she has done 
To youth and nature. This is all our world ; 
We shall know nothing here, but one another : 
Hear nothing but the clock that tells our woes : 
The vine shall grow, but we shall never see it ; 
Summer shall come, and with her all delights, 
But dead-cold winter must inhabit here ! 

Pal. 'Tis too true, Arcite ! To our Theban hounds, 
That shook the aged forest with their echoes, 
No more now must we halloo ; no more shake 
Our pointed javelins, whilst the angry swine 
Flies like a Parthian quiver from our rages, 
Struck with our well-steeled darts ! All valiant uses 
(The food and nourishment of noble minds) 
In us two, here shall perish ; we shall die, 
(Which is the curse of honor !) lazily, 10 
Children of grief and ignorance. 

Arc. Yet, cousin, 

Even from the bottom of these miseries, 
From all that fortune can inflict upon us, 
I see two comforts rising, two mere 11 blessings, 

io Mr. Knight, following the old copy, has " lastly" — a word 
without significance in this connexion. I follow the reading 
of Mr. Seward. Sloth, laziness, and not death, is here meant 
by " the curse of honor." 

U Mere— absolute. — So Mr. Knight. "Mere" is certainly 
used by the old writers in the sense of absolute ; but I half 
incline to think that the proper word is new, which might 
well be converted into " mere" by the printer. More would 
answer better than mere. 



If the gods please to hold here ; — a brave patience, 
And the enjoying of our griefs together. 
Whilst Palamon is with me, let me perish 
If I think this our prison. 

Pal. Certainly, 

'Tis a main goodness, cousin, that our fortunes 
Were twinned together : 'tis most true, two, souls 
Put in two noble bodies, let them suffer 
The gall of hazard, so they grow together, 
Will never sink ; they must not say they could j 1 
A willing man dies sleeping, and all's done. 

Arc. Shall we make worthy uses of this place, 
That all men hate so much ? 

Pal. How, gentle cousin ? 

Arc. Let's think this prison holy sanctuary, 
To keep us from corruption of worse men ! 
We are young, and yet desire the ways of honor, 
That liberty and common conversation, 
The poison of pure spirits, might, like women, 
Woo us to wander from. What worthy blessing 
Can be, but our imaginations 

May make it ours ? And here being thus together, 
We are an endless mine to one another ; 
We are one another's wife, ever begetting [ance ; 
New births of love ; we are father, friends, acquaint- 
We are, in one another, families ; 
I am your heir, and you are mine ; this place 
Is our inheritance ; no hard oppressor 
Dare take this from us ; here, with a little patience, 
We shall live long, and loving ; no surfeits seek us ; 
The hand of war hurt none here, nor the seas 
Swallow their youth. Were we at liberty, 
A wife might part us lawfully, or business ; 
Quarrels consume us ; envy of ill men 
Crave 3 our acquaintance. I might sicken, cousin, 
Where you should never know it, and so perish 
Without your noble hand to close mine eyes, 
Or prayers to the gods : a thousand chances, 
Were we from hence, would sever us. 

Pal. You have made me 

(I thank you, Cousin Arcite !) almost wanton 
With my captivity : what a misery 
It is to live abroad, and everywhere ! 
'Tis like a beast, methinks ! I find the court here, 
I'm sure, a more content ; and all those pleasures, 
That woo the wills of men to vanity, 
I see through now ; and am sufficient [bold] 
To tell the world, 'tis but a gaudy shadow, 
That old Time, as he passes by, takes with him. 
What had we been, old in the court of Creon, 
Where sin is justice, lust and ignorance 
The virtues of the great ones ! Cousin Arcite, 
Had not the loving gods found this place for us, 
We had died as they do, ill old men unwept, 
And had their epitaphs, the people's curses ! 
Shall I say more ? 

Arc. I would hear you still. 

Pal. You shall. 

Is there record of any two that loved 
Better than we do, Arcite ? 

1 This line is usually divided thus — " they must not ; say 
they could" — but the meaning is, they must not admit to 
themselves that they can sink, lest they do so, since to de- 
spair is to die sleeping, willingly. 

2 Crave is the word of the early copies. M. Mason pro- 
poses to read cleave — that is, separate — the acquaintance of 
the two friends. We receive the passage as — the envy 
which characterizes ill men may crave that we also should 
become acquainted with that passion. 

Arc. Sure there can not. 

Pal. I do not think it possible our friendship 
Should ever leave us. 
Arc. Till our deaths it can not ; 

Enter Emilia and her Servant, in the garden below. 

And after death our spirits shall be led 

To those that love eternally. Speak on, sir .' 

Emi. This garden has a world of pleasures in't. 
What flower is this ? 

Serv. 'Tis called Narcissus, madam. 

Emi. That was a fair boy, certain, but a fool 
To love himself ; were there not maids enough ? 

Arc. (above). Pray, forward.' 3 

Pal. Yes. 

Emi. Or were they all hard-hearted ? 

Serv. They could not be to one so fair. 

Emi. Thou wouldst not ? 

Serv. I think I should not, madam. 

Emi. That's a good wench ! 

But take heed to your kindness though J 

Serv. Why, madam ? 

Emi. Men are mad things. 

Arc. (above). Will you go forward, cousin? 4 

Emi. Canst not thou work such flowers in silk, 
wench ? 

Serv. Yes. 

Emi. I'll have a gown full of them, and of these ; 
This is a pretty color: will't not do 
Rarely upon a skirt, wench ? 

Serv. Dainty, madam. 

Arc. Cousin! How do you, sir? Why, Pala- 
mon ! 

Pal. Never 'till now was I in prison, Arcite. 

Arc. Why, what's the matter, man ? 

Pal. Behold, and wonder ! 

By Heaven, she is a goddess ! 

Arc. (sees Emilia). Ha ! 

Pal. Do reverence ! 

She is a goddess, Arcite ! 

Emi. Of all flowers, 

Methinks a rose is best. 

Serv. Why, gentle madam ! 

Emi. It is the very emblem of a maid : 
For when the west wind courts her gentily, 
How modestly she blows, and paints the sun 
With her chaste blushes ! When the north comes 

near her, 
Rude and impatient, then, like chastity, 
She locks her beauties in her bud again, 
And leaves him to base briars. 

Serv. Yet, good madam, 

Sometimes her modesty will blow so far 
She falls for it : a maid, 
If she have any honor, would be loath 
To take example by her. 

Emi. Thou art wanton. 

Arc. She's wondrous fair ! 

Pal. She's all the beauty extant ! 

Emi. The sun grows high ; let's walk in ! Keep 
these flowers ; 
We'll see how near art can come near 5 their colors. 
I'm wondrous merry-hearted ; I could laugh now. 

3 That is — " speak on" — respecting a former entreaty. 

4 Palamon has been silent in watching Emilia. 

s We might read " compare" in this place, instead of come 
near. " How near art can come near," is such an awkward- 
ness as might well justify the substitute. 



Serv. I could lie down, I'm sure. 

End. And take one with you ? 

Serv. That's as we bargain, madam. 

Emi. Well agree* then. [Exit with Serv. 

Pal. What think you of this beauty ? 

Arc. 'Tis a rare one. 

Pal. Is't but a rare one ? 

Arc. Yes, a matchless beauty. 

Pal. Might not a man well lose himself, and love 

Arc. I can not tell what you have done ; I have ! — 
Beshrew mine eyes for it ! Now I feel my shackles. 

Pal. You love her, then ? 

Arc. Who would not ? 

Pal. And desire her ? 

Arc. Before my liberty. 

Pal. I saw her first. 

Arc. That's nothing. 

Pal. But it shall be. 

Arc. I saw her too. 

Pal. Yes ; but you must not love her. 

Arc. I will not, as you do ; to worship her, 
As she is heavenly, and a blessed goddess : 
I love her as a woman, to enjoy her ; 
So both may love. 

Pal. You shall not love at all. 

Arc. Not love at all ? who shall deny me ? 

Pal. I that first saw her ; I that took possession 
First, with mine eye, of all those beauties in her 
Revealed [un] to mankind ! If thou lovest her, 
Or entertainest a hope to blast my wishes, 
Thou art a traitor, Arcite, and a fellow 
False as thy title to her. Friendship, blood, 
And all the ties between us, I disclaim, 
If thou once think upon her ! 

Arc. Yes, I love her ; 

And if the lives of all my name lay on it, 
I must do so. I love her with my soul ! 
If that will lose you, farewell, Palamon ! 
I say again, I love ; loving her, maintain 
I am as worthy and as free a lover, 
And have as just a title to her beauty, 
As any Palamon, or any living, 
That is a man's son. 

Pal. Have I called thee friend ? 

Arc. Yes, and have found me so. Why are you 
moved thus ? 
Let me deal coldly 2 with you ! am not I [me 

Part of your blood, part of your soul ? you've told 
That I was Palamon, and you Arcite. 

Pal. Yes. 

Arc. Am I not liable to those affections. [fer ? 

Those joys, griefs, angers, fears, my friend shall suf- 

Pal. You may be. 

Arc. Why then would you deal so cunningly, 
So strangely, so unlike a noble kinsman, 
To love alone ? Speak truly ; do you think me 
Unworthy of her sight ? 

Pal. No ; but unjust 

If thou pursue that sight. 

Arc. Because another 

First sees the enemy, shall I stand still, 
And let mine honor down, and never charge? 

Pal. Yes, if he be but one. 

1 Or, " we'll agree" — that is, to take as we bargain. 

2 Coolly, calmly, as a reasoning being ; or it may be, boldly. 

Arc. But say that one 

Had rather combat me ? 

Pal. Let that one say so, 

And use thy freedom ! else, if thou pursuest her, 
Be as that cursed man that hates his country, 
A branded villain ! 

Arc. You are mad. 

Pal. I must be, 

Till thou art worthy. Arcite, it concerns me ; 
And, in this madness, if I hazard thee 
And take thy life, I deal but truly. 

Arc. Fie, sir ! 

You play the child extremely. I will love her, 
I must, I ought to do so, and I dare ; 
And all this, justly. 

Pal. Oh, that now, that now, 

Thy false self, and thy friend, had but this fortune, 
To be one hour at liberty, and grasp 
Our good swords in our hands ! I'd quickly teach thee 
What 'twere to filch affection from another ! 
Thou'rt baser in it than a cutpurse ! But put 
Thy head but once out of this window more, 
And, as I have a soul, I'll nail thy life to't ! 

Arc. Thou darest not, fool ; thou canst not ; thou 
art feeble ! 
Put my head out ? I'll throw my body out, 
And leap the garden, when I see her next, 
Enter Gaoler. 

And pitch 3 between her arms, to anger thee. 

Pal. No more ; the keeper's coming : I shall live 
To knock thy brains out with my shackles. 

Arc. Do. 

Gaoler. By your leave, gentlemen. 

Pal. Now, honest keeper ? 

Gaoler. Lord Arcite, you must presently to the 
The cause I know not yet. [duke : 

Arc. I am ready, keeper. 

Gaoler. Prince Palamon. I must awhile bereave you 
Of your fair cousin's company. 

[Exit with Arcite. 

Pal. And me too, 

Even when you please , of life ! — Why is he sent for ? 
[t may be, he shall marry her : he's goodly ; 
And like enough the duke hath taken notice 
Both of his blood and body. But his falsehood ! 
Why should a friend be treacherous ? If that 
Get him a wife so noble and so fair, 
Let honest men ne'er love again. Once more 
I would but see this fair one Blessed garden, [som 
And fruit, and flowers more blessed, that still blos- 
As her bright eyes shine on ye ! 'Would I were, 
For all the fortune of my life hereafter, 
Yon little tree, yon blooming apricot ! 
How I would spread, and fling my wanton arms 
In at her window ! I would bring her fruit ! 
Fit for the gods to feed on Youth and pleasure, 
Still, as she tasted, should be doubled on her ; 
And, if she be not heavenly, I would make her 
So near the gods in nature, they should fear her ; 
And then I'm sure she'd love me. 

Enter Gaoler. 

How now, keeper ! 
Where's Arcite? 

Gaoler. Banished. Prince Perithous 

3 Qu. : Perch? 



Obtained his liberty ; but never more, 
Upon his oath and life, must he set foot 
Upon this kingdom. 

Pal. He's a blessed man ! 

He shall see Thebes again, and call to arms 
The bold young men, that, when he bids them charge, 
Fall on like fire. Arcite shall have a fortune, 1 
If he dare make himself a worthy lover, 
Yet in the field to strike a battle for her ; 
And if he lose her then, he's a cold coward : 
How bravely may he bear himself to win her, 
If he be noble Arcite, thousand ways ! 
Were I at liberty, I would do things 
Of such a virtuous greatness, that this lady, 
This blushing virgin, should take manhood to her, 
And seek to ravish me. 

Gaoler. My lord, for you 

I have this charge too. 
Pal. To discharge my life ? 

Gaoler. No; but from this place to remove your 
The windows are too open. [lordship ; 

Pal. Devils take them, 

That are so envious to me ! Prithee kill me ! 
Gaoler. And hang for't afterward ! 
Pal. By this good light, 

Had I a sword, I'd kill thee. 

Gaoler. Why, my lord ? 

Pal. Thou bringest such pelting scurvy news con- 
Thou art not worthy life ! I will not go. 
Gaoler. Indeed you must, my lord. 
Pal. May I see the garden? 

Gaoler. No. 

Pal. Then I'm resolved I will not go. 

Gaoler. I must 

Constrain you then ! and, for you're dangerous, 
I'll clap more irons on you. 

Pal. Do, good keeper, 

And I will shake 'em so, you shall not sleep ; 
I'll make you a new morris ! Must I go ? 
Gaoler. There is no remedy. 

Pal. Farewell, kind window ! 

May rude wind never hurt thee ! Oh, my lady, 
If ever thou hast felt what sorrow was, 
Dream how I suffer ! Come, now bury me. [Exeunt. 

Enter Arcite. 

Arc. Banished the kingdom ! 'Tis a benefit, 
A mercy I must thank them for ; but banished 
The free enjoying of that face I die for, 
Oh, 'twas a studied punishment, a death 
Beyond imagination ! Such a vengeance, 
That, were I old and wicked, all my sins 
Could never pluck upon me. Palamon, 
Thou hast the start now ; thou shalt stay and see 
Her bright eyes break each morning 'gainst thy win- 
And let in life unto thee ; thou shalt feed [dow, 

Upon the sweetness of a noble beauty, 
That nature ne'er exceeded, nor ne'er shall. 
Good gods, what happiness has Palamon ! 
Twenty to one he '11 come to speak to her ; 
And, if she be as gentle as she's fair, 
I know she's his. He has a tongue will tame 

1 Fortune— a chance. 

Tempests, and make the wild rocks wanton. 
Come what can come, the worst is [only] death: 
I will not leave this kingdom : 
I know my own is but a heap of ruins, 
And no redress there ! If I go, he has her. 
I am resolved : another shape shall make me, 
Or end my fortunes ; either way, I'm happy : 
I'll see her, and be near her, or no more. 

Enter four Country People ; one with a garland before 

1 Coun. My masters, I'll be there, that's certain. 

2 Coun. And I'll be there. 

3 Coun. And I. 

4 Coun. Why then, have with ye, boys ! 'tis but a 
chiding ; 

Let the plough play to-day ! I'll tickle't out 
Of the jades' tails to-morrow ! 

1 Coun. I am sure 
To have my wife as jealous as a turkey: 
But that's all one ; I'll go through, let her mumble. 

3 Coun. Do we all hold against the'maying ?* 

4 Coun. Hold ! what should ail us ? 
3 Coun. Areas will be there. 

2 Coun. And Sennois, 
And Rycas ; and three better lads ne'er danced 
Under green tree. Ye know what wenches. Ha! 
But will the dainty domine, the schoolmaster, 
Keep touch, do you think ? for he does all, ye know. 

3 Coun. He'll eat a hornbook, ere he fail : Go to ! 
The matter is too far driven between 
Him and the tanner's daughter, to let slip now ; 
And she must see the duke, and she must dance too. 

4 Coun. Shall we be lusty ? 
2 Coun. All the boys in Athens, 

Blow wind i'the breech on us ! . . . 
(Sings) — And here I'll be 

And there I'll be, — 
For our town .... 

And here again, 

And there again. 
Ha, boys ! Heigh for the weavers. 

1 Coun. This must be done i' the woods. 
4 Coun. Oh, pardon me ! 

2 Coun. By any means ; our thing of learning says 
Where he himself will edify the duke [so ; 
Most parlously in our behalfs : he's excellent 
I' the woods. Bring him to the plains, 
His learning makes no cry. 

3 Coun. We'll see the sports ; 
Then every man to his tackle ; and, 
Companions, let's rehearse by any means, 
Before the ladies see us ; and do't sweetly, 
And God knows what may come on't ! 

4 Coun. Content : 
The sports once ended, we'll perform. Away, boys ; 
And hold ! 

Arc. By your leaves, honest friends .' I pray you, 
Whither go you ? 
4 Coun. Whither ? why, what a question's that ! 

2 When we open Beaumont and Fletcher's works, we en- 
counter grossnesses entirely of a different nature from those 
which occur in Shakspcare. They are the result of impure 
thoughts, not the accidental reflection of loose manners. 
They are meant to be corrupting, We have four lines here 
conceived in this spirit, and we omit them without hesita- 
tion. No one has thought that these comic scenes were 
written by Shakspeare. 



Arc. Yes, 'tis a question, 
To me, that know not. 

3 Coun. To the games, my friend. 

2 Coun. Where were you bred, you know it not ? 

Arc. Not far, sir. 

Are there such games to-day ? 

1 Coun. Yes, marry are there ; 
And such as you ne'er saw : the duke himself 
Will be in person there. 

Arc. What pastimes are they ? 

2 Coun. Wrestling and running. 'Tis a pretty fel- 


3 Coun. Thou wilt not go along ? 

Arc. Not, yet, sir. 

4 Coun. Well, sir, 
Take your own time. Come, boys ! 

1 Coun. My mind misgives me, 
This fellow hath a vengeance trick o' the hip ; 
Mark, how his body's made for't ! 

2 Coun. I'll be hanged though 
If he dare venture ; hang him ; he, plum-porridge ! 
He wrestle? He roast eggs. Come, let's be gone. 

lads ! [Exeunt Countrymen. 

Arc. This is an offered opportunity 
I durst not wish for. Well I could have wrestled ; 
The best men called it excellent ; — and run, — 
Swifter the wind upon a field of com 
(Curling the wealthy ears) ne'er flew l l I'll venture, 
And in some poor disguise be there : who knows 
Whether my brows may not be girt with garlands, 
And happiness prefer me to a place 
Where I may ever dwell in sight of her ? [Exit. 

Enter Gaoler's Daughter. 

Daugh. Why should I love this gentleman. 'Tis 
He never will affect me. I am base ; [odds 

My father the mean keeper of his prison, 
And he a prince : to marry him is hopeless, 
To be his whore is witless. Out upon 't ! 
What pushes are we wenches driven to, 
When fifteen once has found us ! First, I saw him ; 
I, seeing, thought he was a goodly man. 
He has as much to please a woman in him, 
(If he please to bestow it so) as ever 
These eyes yet looked on : next, I pitied him ; 
And so would any young wench, o'my conscience, 
That ever dreamed, or vowed her maidenhead 
To a young handsome man : then, I loved him, 
Extremely loved him, infinitely loved him ! 
And yet he had a cousin, fair as he too ; 
But in my heart was Palamon, and there, 
Lord what a coil he keeps ! [Only 2 ] to hear him 
Sing in an evening, what a heaven it is ! 
And yet his songs are sad ones. Fairer spoken 

1 The ordinary reading is : — 

" And run. 
Swifter the wind upon a field of corn 
(Curling the wealthy ears) ne'er flew." 
The original has than, which has been altered to the. By 
changing ne'er to e'er we obtain a better construction.* 

* And with Mr. Knight's permission, I have ventured to re- 
store the reading of the for than, with a new punctuation, pre- 
ferring, though with great deference, the present construc- 
tion to his own. 

2 " Only," is here an interpolation, to render the line com- 
plete and musical. In Seward's edition, he interpolates " to 
6it," thus — " To sit and hear," &c. 

Was never gentleman : when I come in, 

To bring him water in a morning, first 

He bows his noble body, then salutes me : 

" Fair gentle maid, good morrow ! may thy goodness 

Get thee a happy husband !" — Once he kissed me ; 

I loved my lips the better ten days after : 

'Would he would do so everyday ! He grieves much, 

And me as much to see his misery: 

What should I do to make him know I love him ? 

For I would fain enjoy him: say I ventured 

To set him free ? what says the law then ? 

Thus much for law, or kindred ! I will do it, 

And this night or to-morrow. He shall love me ! 


SCENE V. — A short flourish of cornets, and shouts 

Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Perithous, Emilia, 
and Arcite, with a garland, fyc. 

Thes. You have done worthily. I have not seen, 
Since Hercules, a man of tougher sinews : 
Whate'er you are, you run the best and wrestle, 
That these times can allow. 

Arc. I am proud to please you. 

Thes. What country bred you ? 

Arc. This ; but far off, prince. 

Thes. Are you a gentleman ? 

Arc. My father said so ; 

And to those gentle uses gave me life. 

Thes. Are you his heir ? 

Arc. His youngest, sir. 

Thes. Your father 

Sure is a happy sire then. What prove you ? 

Arc. A little of all noble qualities : 
I could have kept a hawk, and well have halloo'd 
To a deep cry of dogs. I dare not praise 
My feat in horsemanship, yet they that knew me 
Would say it was my best piece ; last, and greatest, 
I would be thought a soldier. 

Thes. You are perfect. 

Per. Upon my soul, a proper man ! 

Emi. He is so. 

Per. How do you like him, lady? 

Hip. I admire him : 

I have not seen so young a man so noble 
(If he say true) of his sort. 

Emi. Believe [me 3 ] 

His mother was a wondrous handsome woman ! 
His face, methinks, goes that way. 

Hip. But his body, 

And fiery mind, illustrate a brave father. 

Per. Mark how his virtue, like a hidden sun, 
Breaks through his baser garments. 

Hip. He's well got, sure. 

Thes. What made you seek this place, sir ? 

Arc. Noble Theseus, 

To purchase name, and do my ablest service 
To such a well-found wonder as thy worth ; 
For only in thy court, of all the world, 
Dwells fair-eyed Honor. 

Per. All his words are worthy. 

Thes. Sir, we are much indebted to your travel, 

3 Former copies simply say, " believe." I add the word, 
"me," as equally necessary to the rhythm and the idiom. 
" His face goes that way," means, he looks like his mother — 
he has a feminine aspect. 



Nor shall you lose your wish. Perithous, 
Dispose of this fair gentleman. 

Per. Thanks, Theseus ! — 

Whate'er you are, you're mine, and I shall give you 
To a most noble service ; — to this lady — 
This bright young virgin : pray observe her goodness: 
You've honored her fair birthday with your virtues, 
And, as your due, you're hers ; kiss her fair hand, sir. 

Arc. Sir, you're a noble giver. — Dearest beauty, 
Thus let me seal my vowed faith ! When your ser- 
(Your most unworthy creature) but offends you, 
Command him die, he shall. 

Emi. That were too cruel. 

If you deserve well, sir, I shall soon see't : 
You're mine, and somewhat better than your rank 
I '11 use you. 

Per. I'll see you furnished : and because you say 
You are a horseman, I must needs entreat you 
This afternoon to ride ; but 't is a rough one. 

Arc. I like him better, prince ; I shall not then 
Freeze in my saddle. 

Thes. Sweet, you must be ready ; 

And you, Emilia ; and you, friend ; and all j 
To-morrow, by the sun, to do observance 
To flowery May, in Dian's wood. Wait well, sir, 
Upon your mistress ! Emily, I hope 
He shall not go afoot. 

Emi. That were a shame, sir, 

While I have horses. Take your choice ; and what 
You want at any time, let me but know it : 
If you serve faithfully, I dare assure you 
You'll find a loving mistress. 

Arc. If I do not, 

Let me find that 1 my father ever hated, 
Disgrace and blows ! 

Thes. Go, lead the way ; you've won it ; 

It shall be so : you shall receive all dues 
Fit for the honor you have won ; 'twere wrong else. 
Sister, beshrew my heart, you have a servant, 
That if I were a woman, would be master ; 
But you are wise. [Flourish. 

Emi. I hope too wise for that, sir. [Exeunt. 


Enter Gaoler's Daughter. 
Laugh. Let all the dukes and all the devils roar, 
He is at liberty ! I've ventured for him ; 
And out I've brought him to a little wood 
A mile hence. I have sent him, where a cedar, 
Higher than all the rest, spreads like a plane 
Fast by a brook ; and there he shall keep close, 
Till I provide him files and food ; for yet 
His iron bracelets are not off. Oh, Love, 
What a stout-hearted child thou art ! My father 
Durst better have endured cold iron than done it. 
I love him beyond love, and beyond reason, 
Or wit or safety ! I have made him know it. 
I care not ; I am desperate. If the law 
Find me, and then condemn me for't, some wenches, 
Some honest-hearted maids, will sing my dirge, 

1 There is something quite obscure in this passage. I 
should prefer to substitute "forget" for " find that." To 
forget that his father's lessons always taught a hatred of dis- 
grace and blows, would be necessary to one whose conduct 
is supposed to deserve them. — Knight. 

And tell to memory my death was noble, 
Dying almost a martyr. That way he takes, 
I purpose, is my way too : sure, he can not 
Be so unmanly as to leave me here ! 
If he do, maids will not so easily 
Trust men again. And yet he has not thanked me 
For what I've done ; no, not so much as kissed me ; 
And that, methinks, is not so well ; nor scarcely 
Could I persuade him to become a freeman, 
He made such scruples of the wrong he did 
To me and to my father. Yet, I hope, 
When he considers more, this love of mine 
Will take more root within him : let him do 
What he will with me, so he but use me kindly ! 
For use me so he shall, or I'll proclaim him, 
And to his face, no man. I'll presently 
Provide him necessaries, and pack my clothes up, 
And where there is a path of ground I'll venture, 
So he be with me ! By him, like a shadow, 
I'll ever dwell. Within this hour the hubbub 
Will be all o'er the prison. I am then 
Kissing the man they look for. Farewell, father .' 
Get many more such prisoners, and such daughters, 
And shortly you may keep yourself. Now to him ! 



SCENE I. — Cornets in sundry places. Noise and hal- 
looing, as people a-maying. 

Enter Arcite. 

Arc. The duke has lost Hippolyta ; each took 
A several land. This is a solemn rite 
They owe bloomed May, and the Athenians pay it 
To the heart of ceremony. Oh, queen ! 
Emilia, fresher than [the] May, [and] sweeter 
Than her gold buttons on the boughs, or all 
Th' enamelled knacks o' the mead or garden ! yea, 
We challenge, too, the bank of any nymph, 
That makes the stream seem flowers ; thou, oh jewel 
Of the wood, of the world, hast likewise blessed a 

With thy sole presence. In thy rumination 
That I, poor man, might eftsoons come between, 
And chop 1 on some cold thought ! — Thrice blessed 

To drop on such a mistress, — expectation 
Most guiltless oft ! Tell me, oh, lady Fortune, 
(Next after Emily my sovereign), how far 
I may be proud. She takes strong note of me, 
Hath made me near her, and this beauteous morn 
(The prim'sl of all the year) presents me with 
A brace of horses ; two such steeds might well 
Be by a pair of kings backed, in a field 
That their crowns' titles tried. Alas, alas, 
Poor cousin Palamon, poor prisoner ! thou 
So little dream'st upon my fortune, that 
Thou think'st thyself the happier thing, to be 
So near Emilia. Me, thou deem'st at Thebes, 
And therein wretched, although free : but if 

1 Chop, on a sudden, to meet by chance. Still the passage 
is obscure. Why a cold thought, unless it is meant that as 
she ruminates coldly and indifferently, her heart is still ac- 
cessible to a new passion 1 



Thou knew'st my mistress breathed on me, and that 
I eared her language, lived in her eye, oh, coz, 
What passion would enclose thee ! 

Enter Palamon as out of a bush, with his shackles ; 
bends his fist at Arcite. 

Pal. Traitor kinsman ! 

Thou shouldst perceive my passion, if these signs 
Of prisonment were off me, and this hand 
But owner of a sword. By all oaths in one, 
I, and the justice of my love, would make thee 
A confessed traitor ! Oh, thou most perfidious 
That ever gently looked ! The void'st of honor 
That e'er bore gentle token ! Falsest cousin 
That ever blood made kin .' Call'st thou her thine ? 
I'll prove it in my shackles, with these hands 
Void of appointment, 1 that thou liest, and art 
A very thief in love, a chaffy lord, 
Not' 2 worth the name of villain ! Had I a sword, 
And these house-clogs away — 

Arc. Dear cousin Palamon — 

Pal. Cozener Arcite, give me language such 
As thou hast showed me feat ! 

Arc. Not finding, in 

The circuit of my breast, any gross stuff 
To form me like your blazon, holds me to 
This gentleness of answer. 'Tis your passion 
That thus mistakes ; the which, to you being enemy, 
Can not to me be kind. Honor and honesty 
I cherish, and depend on, howsoe'er 
You skip them in me ; and, with them, fair coz, 
I'll maintain my proceedings. Pray be pleased 
To show in generous terms your griefs, since that 
Your question's with your equal, who professes 
To clear his own way, with the mind and sword 
Of a true gentleman. 

Pal. That thou durst, Arcite ! 

Arc. My coz, my coz, you have been well adver- 
How much I dare. You've seen me use my sword 
Against th' advice of fear. Sure, of another 
You would not hear me doubted, but your silence 
Should break out, though i' the sanctuary. 

Pal. Sir, 

I've seen you move in such a place, which well 
Might justify your manhood ; you were called 
A good knight and a bold : but the whole week's not 
If any day it rain ! Their valiant temper [fai r > 

Men lose, when they incline to treachery; 
And then they fight like compelled bears, — would fly 
Were they not tied. 

Arc. Kinsman, you might as well 

Speak this, and act it in your glass, as to 
His ear, which now disdains you ! 

Pal. Come up to me ! 

Quit me of these cold gyves, give me a sword 
(Though it be rusty), and the charity 
Of one meal lend me ; come before me then, 
A good sword in thy hand, and do but say 
That Emily is thine, I will forgive 
The trespass thou hast done me, yea, my life, 
If then thou carry't ; and, brave souls in shades, 
That have died many, which will seek of me 
Some news from earth, they shall get none but this, 
That thou art brave and noble. 

i Without preparation of armor or weapons. 
8 Other editions read " nor." 

Arc. Be content ; 

Again betake you to your hawthorn-house ! 
With counsel of the night, I will be here 
With wholesome viands ; these impediments 
Will I file off; you shall have garments, and 
Perfumes to kill the smell o' the prison ; after, 
When you shall stretch yourself, and say but, 'Arcite, 
I am in plight ." there shall be at your choice 
Both sword and armor. * 

Pal. Oh, you heavens, dare any 

So noble, bear a guilty business ? None 
But only Arcite ; therefore none but Arcite, 
In this kind, is so bold. 

Arc. Sweet Palamon — 

Pal. I do embrace you, and your offer : for 
Your offer do't ; ay, only, sir : your person, 
Without hypocrisy, I may not wish 
More than my sword's edge on't. 

[Wind horns of cornets. 

Arc. You hear the horns : 

Enter your musit, 3 lest this match between us 
Be crossed ere met. Give me your hand : farewell ? 
I'll bring you every needful thing : I pray you 
Take comfort, and be strong ! 

Pal. Pray hold your promise, 

And do the deed with a bent brow ! most certain 
You love me not : be rough with me, and pour 
This oil out of your language : by this air, 
1 could for each word give a cuff ! my stomach 
Not reconciled by reason. 

Arc. Plainly spoken ! 

Yet pardon me hard language : when I spur 
My horse, I chide him not ; content and anger 

[ Wind hoi'ns. 
In me have but one face. Hark, sir ! they call 
The scattered to the banquet : you must guess 
I have an office there. 

Pal. Sir, your attendance 

Can not please Heaven ; and I know your office 
Unjustly is achieved. 

Arc. I've a good title, 

I am persuaded : this question, sick between us, 
By bleeding must be cured. I am a suitor, 
That, to your sword, you will bequeath this plea, 
And talk of it no more. 

Pal. But this one word : 

You are going now to gaze upon my mistress ; 
For, note you, mine she is — 

Arc. Nay, then — 

Pal. Nay, pray you !— 

You talk of feeding me to breed me strength : 
You are going now to look upon a sun 
That strengthens what it looks on ; there you have 
A vantage o'er me ; but enjoy it till 
I may enforce my remedy. Farewell .' [Exeunt. 

Enter Gaoler's Daughter. 
Laugh. He has mistook the brake 4 1 meant ; is gone 
After his fancy. 'Tis now well-nigh morning ; 

3 The original has, "enter your music." Seward reads 
" muse quick," explaining muse to be " the muse of a hare." 
Weber adopts muse, but omits quick. We substitute musit, 
which has the same meaning. 

* The original has beake. M. Mason suggested brake* 

* Mr. Seward has it beck. " Brook" is probably the proper 
word. She has previously said : — 

" I have sent him," Sec., 
"Fast by a brook." 



No matter ! Would it were perpetual night, 

And darkness lord o' the world ! — Hark ! 'tis a wolf: 

In me hath grief slain fear, and, but for one thing, 

I care for nothing ; and that's Palamon. 

I reck not if the wolves would jaw me, so 

He had this file. What if I hallooed for him ? 

I can not halloo : if I whooped, what then* 

If he not answered, I should call a wolf, 

And do him but that service. I have heard [be 

Strange howls this live-long night ; why may't not 

They have made prey of him ? He has no weapons ; 

He cannot run ; the jingling of his gyves 

Might call fell things to listen, who have in them 

A sense to know a man unarmed, and can 

Smell where resistance is. I'll set it down 

He's torn to pieces ; they howled many together, 

And then they fed on him : so much for that ! 

Be bold to ring the bell ; how stand I then ? 

All's chared 1 when he is gone. No, no, I lie ; 

My father's to be hanged for his escape ; 

Myself to beg, if I prized life so much 

As to deny my act ; but that I would not, 

Should I try death by dozens ! — I am moped : 

Food took I none these two days ; only sipped 

Some water. Two nights have not closed mine eyes, 

Save when my lids scowered oflf their brine ; alas, 

Dissolve, my life ! Let not my sense unsettle, 

Lest I should drown, or stab, or hang myself ! 

Oh, state of nature, fail together in me, [now ? 

Since thy best props are warped ! — So ! which way 

The best way is the next way to a grave : 

Each errant step beside is torment. Lo ! 

The moon is down, the crickets chirp, the screech-owl 

Calls in the dawn ! All offices are done, 

Save what I fail in : but the point is this, 

An end, and that is all ! [Exit. 


Enter Arcite, with meat, vine, and files. 

Arc. I should be near the place. Ho, Cousin Pala- 
mon ! 

Enter Palamon. 

Pal. Arcite? 

Arc. The same : I've brought you food and files. 
Come forth, and fear not ; here's no Theseus. 

Pal. Nor none so honest, Arcite. 

Arc. That's no matter ; 

We'll argue that hereafter. Come, take courage ; 
You shall not die thus beastly ; here, sir, drink ! 
I know you're faint ; then I'll talk further with you. 

Pal. Arcite, thou might'st now poison me. 

Arc. I might ; 

But I must fear you first. Sit down ; and, good now, 
No more of these vain parleys ! Let us not, 
Having our ancient reputation with us, 
Make talk for fools and cowards. To your health ! 

Pal. Do— 

Arc. Pray sit down then ; and let me entreat you, 
By all the honesty and honor in you, 

1 AWs chared. Weber says that this means " my task is 
done," — chare being used in the sense of a task. Chare is a 
turn— a job of work. We doubt the explanation.* 

* Why not " all's cleared ?" The sentence which follows 
seems to imply some such signification : " No, no," she says, 
" I lie ; my father's to be hanged," &c. 

No mention of this woman ! 'Twill disturb us ; 
We shall have time enough. 

Pal. Well, sir, I'll pledge you. 

Arc. Drink a good hearty draught ! it breeds good 
blood, man. 
Do not you feel it thaw you ? 

Pal. Stay; I'll tell you 

After a draught or two more. 

Arc . Spare it not ; 

The duke has more. Eat now. 

Pal. Yes. 

Arc. I am glad 

You have so good a stomach. 

Pal. I am gladder 

I have so good meal to't. 

Arc. Is't not mad lodging 

Here, in the wild wood, cousin ; 

Pal. Yes, for them 

That have wild consciences. 

Arc. How tastes your victuals ? 

Your hunger needs no sauce, I see. 

Pal. Not much : 

But if it did, yours is too tart, sweet cousin. 
What is this ? 

Arc. Venison. 

Pal. 'Tis a lusty meat. 

Give me more wine ; here, Arcite, to the wenches 
We have known in our days? The lord-steward's 
Do you remember her ? [daughter ; 

Arc. After you, coz. 

Pal. She loved a black-haired man. 

Arc. She did so : well, sir ? 

Pal. And I have heard some call him Arcite ; and — 

Arc. Out with it, faith ! 

Pal. She met him in an arbor :_ 

What did she there, coz ? Play o' the virginals ? 

Arc. Something she did, sir. 

Pal. Made her groan a month for't ; 

Or two, or three, or ten. 

Arc. The marshal's sister 

Had her share too, as I remember, cousin, 
Else there be tales abroad : you'll pledge her ? 

Pal. Yes. 

Arc. A pretty brown wench 'tis ! There was a 
When young men went a-hunting, and a wood, 
And a broad beech ; and thereby hangs a tale.— • 
Heigh-ho ! [Sighs. 

Pal. For Emily, upon my life ! Fool, 
Away with this strained mirth .' I say again, 
That sigh was breathed for Emily : base cousin, 
Darest thou break first ? 

Arc. You're wide. [honest ! 

Pal. By Heaven and earth, there's nothing in thee 

Arc. Then I'll leave you : 
You are a beast now. 

Pal. As thou mak'st me, traitor. 

Arc. There's all things needful ; files, and shirts, 
and perfumes : 
I'll come again some two hours hence, and bring 
That that shall quiet all. 

Pal. A sword and armor ? 

Arc. Fear me not, you are now too foul : farewell ! 
Get off your trinkets ; you shall want naught. 

Pal. Sirrah — 

Arc. I'll hear no more ! [Exit. 

Pal. If he keep touch, he dies for't ! [Exit. 




Enter Gaoler's Daughter, mad. 

Daugh. I'm very cold, and all the stars are out too, 
The little stars, and all that look like aglets : 
The sun has seen my folly. Palamon ! 
Alas, no ; he's in heaven ! — Where am I now ? — 
Yonder's the sea, and there's a ship ; how't tumbles ! 
And there's a rock lies watching under water ; 
Now, now, it beats upon it ! now, now, now ! 
There's a leak sprung, a sound one ; how they cry ! 
Upon her before the wind, 1 you'll lose all else ! 
Up with a course or two, and tack about, boys ! 
Good night, good night; you're gone! — I'm very 

hungry : 
Would I could find a fine frog ! he would tell me 
News from all parts o' the world ; then would I make 
A carrack of a cockle-shell, and sail 
By east and northeast to the king of pigmies, 
For he tells fortunes rarely. Now my father, 
Twenty to one, is trussed up in a trice 
To-morrow morning ; I'll say never a word. 


For I'll cut my green coat a foot above my knee ; 
And I'll clip my yellow locks an inch below mine e'e 

Hey, nonny, nonny, nonny. 
He's buy me a white cut, forth for to ride, 
And I'll go and seek him, through the world that is so wide. 

Hey, nonny, nonny, nonny. 

Oh, for a prick now, like a nightingale, 
To put my breast against ! 2 I shall sleep like a top 
else. [Exit. 


Enter Gerrold. four Countrymen, (and the Bavian 3 ) , 
two or three Wenches, with a Taborer. 

Ger. Fie, fie ! 
What tediosity and disensanity 
Is here among ye ! Have my rudiments 
Been labored so long with ye, milked unto 4 ye, 
And, by a figure, even the very plum-broth 
And marrow of my understanding laid upon ye, 
And do ye still cry "where," and " how," and "where- 
fore ?" 
Ye most coarse frieze capacities, ye jape 5 judgments, 
Have I said " thus let be," and " there let be," 
And " then let be," and no man understand me ? 

1 So the original. There have been several attempts to 
render this proper nautical language. Weber reads, " spoom 
her before the wind."* 

* " Put her before the wind," is just as likely to be the 
reading. Mr. Sympson recommends, " Up with her 'fore the 
wind ;" and Mr. Theobald, " Spoon her before," &c. The 
choice is with the reader. 

2 The nightingale is fabled to sing most sweetly when thus 
sufferins from the thorn. 

3 Fletcher uses this term for a character in the morris- 

* The Bavian, according to Nares, is ababoon or monkey, 
but not a regular character in the old morris-dance. His 
office here is to bark, to tumble, play antics of all sorts, and 
exhibit an enormous length of tail, with a due regard to 

* Quere : " Milked into ye" ? 

5 Jape. The original has jave. Seward reads shove. As 
no one can explain jave, — and shave, the sleave of silk, is 
almost meaningless, — we substitute jape, — belonging to a 
buffoon, a japer* 

* The original is " jabe." This may be only a misprint for 
" have." — " Ye have judgments," spoken ironically. 

Proh Deum, medius fidius ; ye are all dunces ! 

For why ? here stand I ; here the duke comes ; there 

are you, 
Close in the thicket ; the duke appears, I meet him, 
And unto him I utter learned things, 
And many figures ; he hears, and nods, and hums, 
And then cries " rare !" and I go forward ; at length 
I fling my cap up ; mark there ! then do you, 
As once did Meleager and the boar. 
Break comely out before him, like true lovers ; 
Cast yourselves in a body decently, 
And sweetly, by a figure, trace, and turn, boys ! 

1 Coun. And sweetly we will do it, Master Gerrold, 

2 Coun. Draw up the company. Where's the ta- 

borer ? 

3 Coun. Why, Timothy ! 

Tab. Here, my mad boys ; have at ye ! 

Ger. But, I say, where's the women ? 

4 Coun. Here's Friz and Maudlin. 

2 Coun. And little Luce, with the white legs, and 

bouncing Barbary. 

1 Coun. And freckled Nell, that never failed her 

Ger. Where be your ribands, maids ? Swim with 
your bodies, 
And carry it sweetly, and deliverly ; 6 
And now and then a favor, and a frisk ! 
Nell. Let us alone, sir. 
Ger. Where's the rest o' the music ? 

3 Coun. Dispersed as you commanded. 

Ger. Couple then, 7 

And see what's wanting. Where's the Bavian? 
My friend, carry your tail without offence 
Or scandal to the ladies ; and be sure 
You tumble with audacity, and manhood ! 
And when you bark, do it with judgment. 

Bav. Yes, sir. 

Ger. Quo usque tandem ? Here's a woman wanting. 

4 Coun. We may go whistle ; all the fat's i' the 

Ger. We have, 
As learned authors utter, washed a tile ; 
We have been fatuus, and labored vainly. 

2 Coun. This is that scornful piece, that scurvy 

That gave her promise she would faithfully 
Be here, the sempster's daughter, Cicely ! 
The next gloves that I give her shall be dog's skin ! 
Nay, an she fail me once — You can tell. Areas, 
She swore, by wine and bread, she would not break. 

Ger. An eel and woman, 
A learned poet says, unless by the tail 
And with thy teeth thou hold, will either 8 fail. 
In manners ; — this was false position. 

1 Coun. A fire ill 9 take her ! does she flinch now ? 

3 Coun. What 
Shall we determine, sir? 

Ger. Nothing ; 

Our business is become a nullity. 
Yea, and a woful, and a piteous nullity ! [if, 

4 Coun. Now, when the credit of our town lay on 

6 We might read, " deliver ye" — i. e., speak what you have 
to say. 

7 Or, " them." 

8 " Ever" would seem to be the word. 

9 Mr. Seward reads " feril," or " ferule" take her — a not in- 
appropriate notion of punishment on the part of a peda- 



Now to be frampal ! Now to wet the nettle ; l 
Go thy ways : I'll remember thee, I'll fit thee ! 

Enter Gaoler's Daughter. 

Daugh. The George alow came from the south, 

From the coast of Barbaree-a. 
And there he met with brave gallants of war, 

By one, by two. by three-a. 

Well hailed, well hailed, you jolly gallants 1 
And whither now are you bound-a ? 

Oh, let me have your company 

Till 12 come to the Sound-a 1 

There was three fools, fell out about an howlet : 

The one said 'twas an owl, 

The other he said nay, 
The third he said it was a hawk, 

And her bells were cut away. 

3 Coun. There is a dainty mad woman, master, 
Comes i' the nick ; as mad as a March hare ! 
If we can get her dance, we're made again : 
I warrant her, she'll do the rarest gambols ! 

1 Coun. A mad woman ? We are made, boys ! 
Ger. And are you mad, good woman ? 

Daugh. I would be sorry else ; 

Give me your hand. 

Ger. ' Why ? 

Daugh. I can tell your fortune : 

You are a fool. Tell ten : I've pozed him. Buz ! 
Friend, you must eat no white bread ; if you do. 
Your teeth will bleed extremely. Shall we dance, ho ? 
I know you ; you're a tinker : sirrah tinker, 
Stop no more holes, but what you should ! 3 

Ger. Dii boni ! A tinker, damsel ? 

Daugh. Or a conjurer : 

Raise me a devil now, and let him play 
Quipassa, o' the bells and bones ! 

Ger. Go, take her, 

And fluently persuade her to a peace. 
Atque opus, exegi, quod nee Jovis ira, nee ignis — 
Strike up, and lead her in ! 

2 Coun. Come, lass, let's trip it ! 
Daugh. I'll lead. [Wind horns. 

3 Coun. Do, do. 

Ger. Persuasively, and cunningly ; away, boys ! 

[Exeunt all but Gerrold. 
I hear the horns : give me some meditation, 
And mark your cue. Pallas inspire me ! 

Enter Theseus, Perithous, Hippolyta, Emilia, 
Arcite, and Train. 

Thes. This way the stag took. 

Ger. Stay, and edify ! 

1 I have altered a single word in this sentence, where to 
avoid a vulgarism, Mr. Knight omits it altogether. 

2 / is omitted in the original. Weber reads we. 

3 It is not incumbent on an editor to make sense of the 
speeches of a mad woman, the author himself being seldom 
inclined to do so ; — still there is a necessity for a certain 
economy even in nonsense, and a degree of method must 
needs be found in most cases of dramatic madness. I am 
inclined to think that the stuff here spoken by the daughter 
should be distributed in parts among some of her compan- 
ions ; and would read the passage thus : — 

Daugh. 1 can tell your fortune : — 

You are a fool. 

Ger. Tell ten. [Tell't then.] 

Daugh. I've pozed him. 

Ger. Buz. 

Daugh. Friend, you must eat no white bread ; 
If you do ; &c. 

Thes. What have we here ? 

Per. Some country-sport, upon my life, sir. 

Thes. Well, sir, go forward : we will edify. 
Ladies, sit down ! we'll stay it. 

Ger. Thou doughty duke, all hail ! all hail, sweet 
ladies ! 

Thes. This is a cold beginning. 

Ger. If you but favor, our country pastime made is. 
We are a few of those collected here, 
That ruder tongues distinguish villager ; 
And to say verity, and not to fable, 
We are a merry rout, or else a rabble, 
Or company, or by a figure, chorus, 
That 'fore thy dignity will dance a morris. 
And I that am the rectifier of all, 
By title Pedagogus, that let fall 
The birch upon the breeches of the small ones, 
And humble with a ferula the tall ones, 
Do here present this machine, or this frame : 
And, dainty duke, whose doughty dismal fame 
From Dis to Dedalus, from post to pillar, 
Is blown abroad : help me, thy poor well- wilier, 
And with thy twinkling eyes, look right and straight 
Upon this mighty morr ; — of mickle weight, 
Is — now comes in, which, being glued together, 
Makes morris, and the cause that we came hither. 
The body of our sport, of no small study, 
I first appear, though rude, and raw, and muddy, 
To speak before thy noble grace, this tenor : 
At whose great feet I offer up my penner. 4 
The next, the lord of May, and lady bright, 
The chambermaid, and servingman by night, 
That seek out silent hanging : then, mine host, 
And his fat spouse, that welcome to their 5 cost 
The galled traveller, and with a beck'ning 
Inform the tapster to inflame the reck'ning : 
Then the beast-eating clown, and next the fool, 
The Bavian, with long tail, and eke long tool ; 
Cum multis aliis, that make a dance : — 
Say " ay," and all shall presently advance. 

Thes. Ay, ay, by any means, dear domine ! 
Per. Produce. 

Ger. Intratefilii! Come forth, and foot it. 

Enter Countrymen, <$•<:. They dance. 

Ladies, if we have been merry, 

And have pleased ye with a derry, 

And a derry, and a down, 

Say the schoolmaster's no clown. 

Duke, if we have pleased thee too, 

And have done as good boys should do, 

Give us but a tree or twain 

For a Maypole, and again, 

Ere another year run out, 

We'll make thee laugh, and all this rout. 

Thes. Take twenty, domine. — How does my sweet- 
heart ? 

Hip. Never so pleased, sir. 

Emi. 'Twas an excellent dance ; 

And, for a preface, I never heard a better. 

Thes. Schoolmaster, I thank you. One see them 
all rewarded. 

4 Penner — case for holding pens. 

5 I should prefer to read : — 

" Welcome to hu cost, 
The galled traveller," &c. 



Per. And here's something to paint your pole 

Thes. Now to our sports again ! 
Ger. May the stag thou huntest stand long, 
And thy dogs be swift and strong ! 
May they kill him without letts, 
And the ladies eat's dowsets ! 
Come, we're all made ! [Wind horns. 

Biz Beaque omnes ! 
Ye have danced rarely, wenches. [Exeunt. 


Enter Palamon from the bush. 

Pal. About this hour my cousin gave his faith 
To visit me again, and with him bring 
Two swords, and two good armors ; if he fail, 
He's neither man, nor soldier. When he left me, 
I did not think a week could have restored 
My lost strength to me ; I was grown so low [cite, 
And crest-fallen with my wants. I thank thee, Ar- 
Thou'rt yet a fair foe ; and I feel myself, 
With this refreshing, able once again 
To out-dure 1 danger. To delay it longer [ing, 

Would make the world think, when it comes to hear- 
That I lay fatting, like a swine, to fight, 
And not a soldier : therefore, this blessed morning 
Shall be the last ; and that sword he refuses, 
If it but hold, I kill him with : 'tis justice : 
So, Love and Fortune for me ! Oh, good morrow ! 

Enter Aecite, with armors and swords. 

Arc. Good morrow, noble kinsman ! 

Pal. I have put you 

To too much pains, sir. 

Arc. That too much, fair cousin, 
Is but a debt to honor, and my duty. [you 

Pal. 'Would you were so in all, sir ! I could wish 
As kind a kinsman, as you force me find 
A beneficial foe ; that my embraces 
Might thank you, not my blows. 

Arc. I shall think either, 

Well done, a noble recompense. 

Pal. Then I shall quit you. 

Arc. Defy me in these fair terms, and you show 
More than a mistress to me : no more anger, 
As you love anything that's honorable ! 
We are not bred to talk, man ; when we're armed, 
And both upon our guards, then let our fury, 
Like meeting of two tides, fly strongly from us ! 
And then to whom the birthright of this beauty 
Truly pertains (without upbraidings, scorns, 
Despisings of our persons, and such poutings, 
Fitter for girls and schoolboys) will be seen, [sir ? 
And quickly, yours or mine. Will't please you arm, 
Or, if you feel yourself not fitting yet, [in, 

And furnished 2 with your old strength, I'll stay, cous- 
And every day discourse you into health, 
As I am spared. Your person I am friends with, 
And I could wish I had not said I loved her, 
Though I had died ; but, loving such a lady, 
And justifying my love, I must not fly from't. 

Pal. Arcite, thou art so brave an enemy, 
That no man but thy cousin's fit to kill thee : 
I'm well, and lusty ; choose your arms ! 

1 Here I should certainly prefer to read, " outdare." 
* Should we not rather read, "unfurnished" for "and 
furnished" 1 

Arc. Choose you, sir ! 

Pal. Wilt thou exceed in all, or dost thou do it 
To make me spare thee ? 

Arc. If you think so, cousin, 

You are deceived ; for, as I am a soldier, 
I'll not spare you ! 

Pal. That's well said ! 

Arc. You will find it. 

Pal. Then, as I am an honest man, and love 
With all the justice of affection, 
I'll pay thee soundly ! This I'll take. 

Arc. That's mine then ; 

I'll arm you first. 

Pal. Do. Pray tell me, cousin, 

Where gott'st thou this good armor ? 

Arc. 'Tis the duke's ; 

And, to say true, I stole it. Do I pinch you ? 

Pal. No. 

Arc. Is't not too heavy ? 

Pal. I've worn a lighter ; 

But I shall make it serve. 

Arc. I'll buckle't close. 

Pal. By any 3 means. 

Arc. You care not for a grand-guard 1* 

Pal. No, no ; we'll use no horses. I perceive 
Fou would fain be at that fight. 

Arc. I'm indifferent. 

Pal. Faith, so am I. Good cousin, thrust the buckle 
Through, far enough ! 

Arc. I warrant you. 

Pal. My casque now ! 

Arc. Will you fight bare-armed ? 

Pal. We shall be the nimbler. 

Arc. But use your gauntlets though : those are o' 
Prithee take mine, good cousin ! [the least ; 

Pal. Thank you, Arcite ! 

How do I look ? am I fallen much away ? 

Arc. Faith, very little ; Love has used you kindly. 

Pal. I'll warrant thee I'll strike home. 

Arc. Do, and spare not .' 

I'll give you cause, sweet cousin. 

Pal. Now to you, sir ! 

Methinks this armor's very like that, Arcite, 
Thou wor'st that day the three kings fell, but fighter. 

Arc. That was a very good one ; and that day, 
I well remember, you outdid me, cousin ; 
[ never saw such valor when you charged 
Upon the left wing of the enemy ; 
I spurred hard to come up, and, under me, 
I had a right good horse. 

Pal. You had, indeed ; 

A bright-bay, I remember. 

Arc. Yes. But all 

Was vainly labored in me ; you outwent me, 
Nor could my wishes reach you : yet a little 
I did by imitation. 

Pal. More by virtue ; 

You're modest, cousin. 

Arc. When I saw you charge first, 

Methought I heard a dreadful clap of thunder 
Break from the troop. 

Pal. But still, before that, flew 

The lightning of your valor. Stay a little ! 
Is not this piece too strait ? 

3 " Any," for " alL" , 

4 Grand-guard — armor for equestrians. 



Arc. No, no ; 'tis well. 

Pal. I would have nothing hurt thee but my sword ; 
A bruise would be dishonor. 

Arc. Now I'm perfect. 

Pal. Stand off, then ! 

Arc. Take my sword ! I hold it better. 1 

Pal. I thank you, no ; [you] keep't ; your life lies 
Here's one, if it but hold ; I ask no more [on't : 

For all my hopes. My cause and honor guard me ! 
[They bow several ways • then advance and stand. 

Arc. And me, my love ! Is there aught else to say ? 

Pal. This only, and no more : thou art mine aunt's 
And that blood we desire to shed is mutual ; [son, 
In me, thine, and in thee, mine : my sword 
Is in my hand, and if thou killest me 
The gods and I forgive thee ! If there be 
A place prepared for those that sleep in honor, 
I wish his weary soul that falls may win it ! 
Fight bravely, cousin ; give me thy noble hand ! 

Arc. Here, Palamon ! This hand shall never more 
Come near thee with such friendship. 

Pal. I commend thee. 

Arc. If I fall, curse me, and say I was a coward ; 
For none but such dare die in these just trials. 
Once more, farewell, my cousin ! 

Pal. Farewell, Arcite ! [Fight. 

[Horns within ; they stand. 

Arc. Lo, cousin, lo ! our folly has undone us ! 

Pal. Why? 

Arc. This is the duke, a-hunting, as I told you ; 
If we be found, we're wretched ! Oh, retire, 
For honor's sake and safety ; presently 
Into your bush again, sir ! We shall find 
Too many hours to die in. Gentle cousin, 
If you be seen you perish instantly, 
For breaking prison ; and I, if you reveal me, 
For my contempt : then all the world will scorn us, 
And say we had a noble difference, 
But base disposers of it. 

Pal. No, no, cousin ; 

I will no more be hidden, nor put off 
This great adventure to a second trial ! 
I know your cunning, and I know your cause. 
He that faints now, shame take him ! Put thyself 
Upon thy present guard — 

Arc. You are not mad ? 

Pal. Or I will make th' advantage of this hour 
Mine own ; and what to come shall threaten me, 
I fear less than my fortune. Know, weak cousin, 
I love Emilia .' and in that I'll bury 
Thee, and all crosses else ! 

Arc. Then come what can come ; 2 

Thou shalt know, Palamon, I dare as well 
Die, as discourse, or sleep : only this fears me, 
The law will have the honor of our ends. 
Have at thy life ! 

Pal. Look to thine own well, Arcite ! 

[Fight again. Horns. 

Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, Perithous, and 

Thes. What ignorant and mad malicious traitors 
Are you, that, 'gainst the tenor of my laws, 

i That is, " I consider it the best" 

s I would omit the " come" at the close of this line, as in- 
jurious to the verse, and not necessary to the sense. 

Are making battle, thus, like knights appointed, 
Without my leave, and officers of arms ? 
By Castor, both shall die ! 

Pal- Hold thy word, Theseus ! 

We're certainly both traitors, both despisers 
Of thee, and of thy goodness : I am Palamon, 
That can not love thee ; — he that broke thy prison ; 
Think well what that deserves ! —and this is Arcite ; 
A bolder traitor never trod thy ground, 
A falser ne'er seemed friend : this is the man 
Was begged 3 and banished ; this is he contemns thee, 
And what thou darestdo ; and, in disguise, 4 
Against thy5 known edict, follows thy sister, 
That fortunate bright star, the fair Emilia, 
(Whose servant, if there be a right in seeing, 
And first bequeathing of the soul to, justly 
I am ;) and, which is more, dares think her his ! 
This treachery, like a most trusty lover, 
I called him now to answer. If thou be'est, 
As thou art spoken, great and virtuous, 
The true decider of all injuries, 
Say, " Fight again !" and thou shalt see me, Theseus, 
Do such a justice, thou thyself wilt envy. 
Then take my life .' I'll woo thee to't. 

Per. Oh, Heaven, 

What more than man is this ! 

Thes. I've sworn. 

Arc. We seek not 

Thy breath of mercy, Theseus ! 'Tis to me 
A thing as soon to die, as thee to say it, 
And no more moved. Where this man calls me 

Let me say thus much : if love 6 be treason, 
In service of so excellent a beauty, 
As I love most, and in that faith will perish ; 
As I have brought my life here to confirm it ; 
As I have served her truest, worthiest ; 
As I dare kill this cousin, that denies it ; 
So let me be most traitor, and you please me. 
For scorning thy edict, duke, ask that lady 
Why she is fair, and why her eyes command me 
Stay here to love her ; and if she say " traitor," 
I am a villain fit to he unburied. 

Pal. Thou shalt have pity of us both, oh, Theseus, 
If unto neither thou show mercy ; stop, 
As thou art just, thy noble ear against us ; 
As thou art valiant, for thy cousin's soul, 
Whose twelve strong labors crown his memory, 
Let's die together at one instant, duke ! 
Only a little let him fall before me, 
That I may tell my soul he shall not have her. 

Thes. I grant your wish ; for, to say true, your 
Has ten times more offended ; — for I gave him 
More mercy than you found, sir ; your offences 
Being no more than his. None here speak for them ! 
For, ere the sun set, both shall sleep for ever. 

Hip. Alas, the pity ! now or never, sister ; 
Speak, not to be denied : that face of yours 
Will bear the curses else of after-ages, 
For these lost cousins ! 

3 He was admitted to mercy at the instance of Prince 

4 Previous copies read "in this disguise." 
6 In former editions, "this known edict" 

6 According to former copies, " if in love." 



Emi. In my face, dear sister, 

I find no anger to them, nor no ruin ; 
The misadventure of their own eyes kills them : 
Yet, that I will be woman, and have pity, 
My knees shall grow to the ground but I'll get mercy. 
Help me, dear sister .' in a deed so virtuous, 
The powers of all women will be with us. 
Most royal brother — % 

Hip. Sir, by our tie of marriage — 

Emi. By your own spotless honor — 

Hip. By that faith, 

That fair hand, and that honest heart you gave me — 

Emi. By that you would have pity in another, 
By your own virtues infinite — 

Hip. By valor — 

By all the chaste nights I have ever pleased you — 

Thes. These are strange conjurings ! 

Per. Nay, then I'll in too : 

By all our friendship, sir ; by all our dangers ; 
By all you love most, wars, — and this sweet lady — 

Emi. By that you would have trembled to deny, 
A blushing maid — 

Hip. By your own eyes ; by strength, 
In which you swore I went beyond all women, 
Almost all men, — and yet I yielded, Theseus — 

Per. To crown all this, by your most noble soul, 
Which can not want due mercy ! I beg first. 

Hip. Next hear my prayers ! 

Emi. Last, let me entreat, sir ! 

Per. For mercy ! 

Hip. Mercy ! 

Emi. Mercy on these princes ! 

Thes. You make my faith reel : say I felt 
Compassion to them both, how would you place it ? 

Emi. Upon their lives ; but with their banishments. 

Thes. You're a right woman, sister ; you have 
But want the understanding where to use it. [pity, 
If you desire their lives, invent a way 
Safer than banishment : can these two live, 
And have the agony of love about them, 
And not kill one another ? Every day 
They'll fight about you ; hourly bring your honor 
In public question with their swords : be wise then, 
And here forget them ! it concerns your credit, 
And my oath equally : I have said, they die ! 
Better they fall by the law than one another. 
Bow not my honor. 

Emi. Oh, my noble brother, 

That oath was rashly made, and in your anger ; 
Your reason will not hold it : if such vows 
Stand for express will, all the world must perish. 
Beside, I have another oath 'gainst yours, 
Of more authority ; I'm sure more love ; 
Not made in passion neither, but good heed. 

Thes. What is it, sister ? 

Per. Urge it home, brave lady .' 

Emi. That you would ne'er deny me anything 
Fit for my modest suit, and your free granting : 
I tie you to your word now ; if you fail in't, 
Think how you maim your honor ; 
(For now I'm set a-begging, sir, I'm deaf 
To all but your compassion !) how their lives 
Might breed the ruin of my name's opinion ! l 
Shall anything that loves me perish for me ? 

1 We adopt a suggestion of M. Mason. The original has, 
"name, opinion." Opinion is used in the sense of reputa- 

That were a cruel wisdom ! do men prune 

The straight young boughs that blush with thousand 

Because they may be rotten? Oh, duke Theseus, 
The goodly mothers that have groaned for these, 
And all the longing maids that ever loved, 
If your vow stand, shall curse me and my beauty, 
And, in their funeral songs for these two cousins, 
Despise my cruelty, and cry woe-worth me, 
Till I am nothing but the scorn of women : 
For Heaven's sake save their lives, and banish them ! 
Thes. On what conditions ? 

Emi. Swear them never more 

To make me their contention, or to know me, 
To tread upon thy dukedom, and to be, 
Wherever they shall travel, ever strangers 
To one another. 

Pal. I'll be cut to pieces 

Before I take this oath ! Forget I love her ? 
Oh, all ye gods, despise me then ! Thy banishment 
I not mislike, so we may fairly carry 
Our swords, and cause along ; else, never trifle 
But take our lives, duke ! I must love, and will ; 
And for that love, must and dare kill this cousin, 
On any piece the earth has ! 

Thes. Will you, Arcite, 

Take these conditions ? 
Pal. He's a villain then ! 

Per. These are men ! 

Arc. No, never, duke ; 'tis worse to me than beg- 
To take my life so basely. Though I think [ging, 
I never shall enjoy her, yet I'll preserve 
The honor of affection, and, dying 2 for her, 
Make death a devil ! 

Thes. What may be done ? for now I feel compas- 
Per. Let it not fall again, sir ! 
Thes. Say, Emilia, 

If one of them were dead, as one must, are you 
Content to take the other to your husband ? 
They can not both enjoy you. They are princes 
As goodly as your own eyes, and as noble 
As ever Fame yet spoke of. Look upon them, 
And if you can love, end this difference ! 
I give consent ! are you content, too, princes ? 
Both. AVith all our souls. 
Thes. He that she refuses 

Must die then. 
Both. Any death thou canst invent, duke. 
Pal. If I fall from that mouth, I fall with favor, 
And lovers yet unborn shall bless my ashes. 

Arc. If she refuse me, yet my grave will wed me, 
And soldiers sing my epitaph. 

Thes. Make choice then ! 

Emi. I can not, sir ; they're both too excellent : 
For me, a hair shall never fall of these men. 
Hip. What will become of them ? 
Thes. Thus I ordain it : 

And, by mine honor, once again it stands, 
Or both shall die ! — You shall both to your country: 
And each, within this month, accompanied 
With three fair knights, appear again in this place, 
In which I'll plant a pyramid : and whether, 3 
Before us that are here, can force his cousin 

2 All other editions read, " and die for her"— the grammar 
and sense, seem equally to require the alteration. 

3 " When either," which might be abridged, and written 
thus — " Whe'ther." 



By fair and knightly strength to touch the pillar, 
He shall enjoy her ; the other lose his head, 
And all his friends : nor shall he grudge to fall, 
Nor think he dies with interest in this lady : 
Will this content ye ? 

Pal. Yes. Here, Cousin Arcite, 

I'm friends again till that hour. 

Arc. I embrace you. 

Thes. Are you content, sister ? 

End. Yes: I must, sir ; 

Else both miscarry. 

Thes. Come, shake hands again then ; 

And take heed, as you're gentlemen, this quarrel 
Sleep till the hour prefixed, and hold your course ! 

Pal. We dare not fail thee, Theseus. 

Thes. Come, I'll give ye 

Now 1 usage like to princes, and to friends. 
When ye return, who wins, I'll settle here ; 
Who loses, yet I'll weep upon his bier. [Exeunt. 



Enter Gaoler and a Friend. 
Gaoler. Hear you no more ? Was nothing said of 
Concerning the escape of Palamon ? [me 

Good sir, remember ! ^ 

1 Friend. Nothing that I heard ; 
For I came home before the business 
Was fully ended : yet, I might perceive 
Ere I departed, a great likelihood 

Of both their pardons ; for Hippolyta, 

And fair-eyed Emily, upon their knees, 

Begged with such handsome pity, that the duke, 

Methought, stood staggering whether he should fol- 

His rash oath, or the sweet compassion [low 

Of those two ladies ; and, to second them, 

That truly noble prince, Perithous — 

Half his own heart — set in too, that I hope 

All shall be well : neither heard I one question 

Of your name, or his 'scape. 

Enter Second Friend. 
Gaoler. Pray Heaven, it hold so ! 

2 Friend. Be of good comfort, man ! I bring you 
Good news. [news, 

Gaoler. They're welcome. 

2 Friend. Palamon has cleared you, 

And got your pardon, and discovered how 
And by whose means he 'scaped, which was your 

Whose pardon is procured too ; and the prisoner 
(Not to be held ungrateful to her goodness) 
Has given a sum of money to her marriage, 
A large one, I'll assure you. 

Gaol. You're a good man, 

And ever bring good news. 

1 Friend. How was it ended ? 

2 Friend. Why, as it should be ; they that never 

But they prevailed, had their suits fairly granted. 
The prisoners have their lives. 

l I prefer to read '• new usage like," &c. 

1 Friend. I knew 'twould be so. 

2 Friend. But there be new conditions, which you'll 

hear of 
At better time. 

Gaoler. I hope they're good. 

2 Friend. They're honorable ; 

How good they'll prove, I know not. 

Enter Wooer. 

1 Friend. 'Twill be known. 
Wooer. Alas, sir, where's your daughter ? 
Gaoler. Why do you ask ? 
Wooer. Oh, sir, when did you see her? 

2 Friend. How he looks ! 
Gaoler. This morning. 

Wooer. Was she well ? was she in health, sir ? 
When 2 did she sleep ? 

1 Friend. These are strange questions. 

Gaoler. I do not think she was very well ; for, now 
You make me mind her, but this very day 
I asked her questions, and she answered me 
So far from what she was, so childishly, 
So sillily, as if she were a fool, 
An innocent ! — and I was very angry. 
But what of her, sir ? 

Wooer. Nothing but my pity ; 

But you must know it, and as good by me 
As by another that less loves her. 

Gaoler. Well, sir ? 

1 Friend. Not right ? 

2 Friend. Not well ? 

Wooer. No, sir ; not well : 

'Tis too true, she is mad. 

1 Friend. It can not be. 

Wooer. Believe, you'll find it so. 

Gaoler. I half suspected 

What you have told me ; the gods comfort her ! 
Either this was her love to Palamon, 
Or fear of my miscarrying, on his 'scape, 
Or both. 

Wooer. 'Tis likely. 

Gaoler. But why all this haste, sir? 

Wooer. I'll tell you quickly. As I late was ang- 
In the great lake that lies behind the palace, [ling 
From the far shore, thick set with reeds and sedges, 
As patiently I was attending sport, 
I heard a voice, a shrill one ; and, attentive, 
I gave my ear ; when I might well perceive 
'Twas one that sung, and, by the smallness of it, 
A boy or woman. I then left my angle 
To his own skill ; came near, but yet perceived not 
Who made the sound, the rushes and the reeds 
Had so encompassed it : I laid me down 
And listened to the words she sung ; for then, 
Through a small glade cut by the fishermen, 
I saw it was your daughter. 

Gaoler. Pray go on, sir ! 

Wooer. She sung much, but no sense ; only I heard 
Repeat this often : " Palamon is gone, [her 

Is gone to th' wood to gather mulberries ; 
I'll find him out to morrow." 

1 Friend. Pretty soul ! 

Wooer. " His shackles will betray him, he'll be 
taken ; 

2 We might read with quite as much propriety, " Where 
did she sleep." 



And what shall I do then ? I'll bring a bevy, 

A. hundred black-eyed maids that love as I do, 

With chaplets on their heads, of daffodillies, 

With cherry lips, and cheeks of damask roses, 

And all we'll dance an antic 'fore the duke, 

And beg his pardon." Then she talked of you, sir ; 

That you must lose your head to-morrow morning, 

And she must gather flowers to bury you, 

And see the house made handsome : then she sung 

Nothing but " Willow, willow, willow ;" and between 

Ever was, " Palamon, fair Palamon !" 

And " Palamon was a tall young man !" The place 

Was knee-deep where she sat ; her careless tresses, 

A wreath of bulrush rounded ; 'bout her stuck 

Thousand fresh water-flowers of several colors ; 

That she, methought appeared like the fair nymph 

That feeds the lake with waters, or as Iris 

Newly dropped down from heaven ! Rings she made 

Of rushes that grew by, and to 'em spoke 

The prettiest posies ; " Thus our true love's tied;" 

" This you may loose, not me ;" and many a one : 

And then she wept, and sung again, and sighed, 

And with the same breath smiled, and kissed her 

2 Friend. Alas, what pity 'tis ! 
Wooer. I made in to her ; 

She saw me, and straight sought the flood. I saved 
And set her safe to land ; when, presently, [her, 

She slipped away, and to the city made, 
With such a cry, and swiftness, that, believe me, 
She left me far behind her. Three, or four, 
I saw from far off cross her ; one of them 
I knew to be your brother ; where she stayed, 
And fell, scarce to be got away. I left them with 


Enter Brother, Daughter, and Others. 

And hither came to tell you. Here they are ! 


" May you never more enjoy the light," &c. 
Is not this a fine song ? 

Broth. Oh, a very fine one ! 

Daugh. I can sing twenty more. 

Broth. I think you can. 

Daugh. Yes, truly can I ; I can sing the Broom, 
And Bonny Robin. Are not you a tailor ? 

Broth. Yes. 

Daugh. Where's my wedding-gown? 

Broth. I'll bring it to-morrow. 

Daugh. Do, very rearly ; 2 I must be abroad else, 
To call the maids, and pay the minstrels ; 
For I must lose my maidenhead by cocklight ; 
'Twill never thrive else. [Sings. 

" Oh, fair, oh, sweet," &c. 

Broth. You must e'en take it patiently. 

Gaoler. 'Tis true. 

Daugh. Good e'en, good men ! Pray did you ever 
Of one young Palamon ? [hear 

Gaoler. Yes, wench, we know him. 

Daugh. Is't not a fine young gentleman ? 

1 This scene is a very obvious imitation of the story of 
Ophelia, though with a less touching termination. But though 
quite creditable to Fletcher, as an imitation of Shakspeare, 
the fact that it is an imitation should be conclusive that 
Shakspeare had no hand in it. 

2 Rearly — early. Gay, in his " Shepherd's Week," uses 
rear as a provincial word, in this sense. The original has 

Gaoler. 'Tis love ! 

Broth. By no means cross her ; she is then dis- 
Far worse than now she shows. [tempered 

1 Friend. Yes, he's a fine man. 

Daugh. Oh, is he so ? You have a sister ? 

1 Friend. Yes. 

Daugh. But she shall never have him ; tell her so ; 
For a trick that I know, you had best look to her, 
For if she see him once, she's gone ; she's done, 
And undone in an hour. All the young maids 
Of our town are in love with him ; but I laugh at 'em, 
And let 'em all alone ; is't not a wise course ? 

1 Friend. Yes. 3 

Daugh. They come from all parts of the dukedom 
I'll warrant you. [to him : 

Gaoler. She's lost, [she's] past all cure ! 

Broth. Heaven forbid, man ! 

Daugh. Come hither ; you're a wise man. 

1 Friend. Does she know him ? 

2 Friend. No ; would she did .' 
Daugh. You're master of a ship ? 
Gaoler. Yes. 

Daugh. Where's your compass? 

Gaoler. Here. 

Daugh. Set it to the north ; 

And now direct your course to the wood, where Pal- 
Lies longing for me ; for the tackling [amon 
Let me alone : come, weigh, my hearts, cheerly ! 

All. Owgh, owgh, owgh ! 'tis up, the wind is fair, 
Top [with] the bowline ; out with the mainsail ! 
Where is your whistle, master? 

Broth. Let's get her in. 

Gaoler. Up to the top, boy. 

Broth. Where's the pilot ? 

1 Friend. Here. 
Daugh. What kenn'st thou ? 

2 Friend. A fair wood. 
Daugh. Bear for it, master ; tack about ! 

[ Sings. 
" When Cynthia with her borrowed light," &c. 



Enter Emilia, with two pictures. 

Emi. Yet I may bind those wounds up, that must 
And bleed to death for my sake else : I'll choose, 
And end their strife ; two such young handsome men 
Shall never fall for me : their weeping mothers, 
Following the dead-cold ashes of their sons, 
Shall never curse my cruelty. Good Heaven, 
What a sweet face has Arcite ! If wise Nature, 
With all her best endowments, all those beauties 
She sows into the births of noble bodies, 
Were here a mortal woman, and had in her 
The coy denials of young maids, yet doubtless 
She would run mad for this man. What an eye ! 
Of what a fiery sparkle, and quick sweetness, 
Has this young prince ! Here Love himself sits 
Just such another wanton Ganymede [smiling. 

Set Jove afire, and [soon] enforced the god 

3 We omit some lines here, for the same reason as we 
have previously stated. The tendency of Fletcher is to de- 
stroy his own high merits by a wanton indulgence in pru- 
riency. He loses nothing by occasional omissions ; not, 
however, regulated by over-fastidiousness. 



Snatch up the goodly boy, and set him by him 
A shining constellation ! What a brow, 
Of what a spacious majesty, he carries ; 
Arched like the great-eyed Juno's, but far sweeter ; 
Smoother than Pelops' shoulder ! Fame and Honor, 
Methinks, from hence, as from a promontory 
Pointed in heaven, should clap their wings and sing 
To all the under-world, the loves and fights 
Of gods and such men near 'em. Palamon 
Is but his foil ; to him, a mere dull shadow ; 
He's swarth and meager, of an eye as heavy 
As if he'd lost his mother ; a still temper, 
No stirring in him, no alacrity ; 
Of all this sprightly sharpness, not a smile. 
Yet these that we count errors, may become him : 
Narcissus was a sad boy, but a heavenly. 
Oh, who can find the bent of woman's fancy? 
I am a fool — - my reason is lost in me ! 
I have no choice, and I have lied so lewdly, 
That women ought to beat me. On my knees 
I ask thy pardon, Palamon ! Thou'rt alone, 
And only, beautiful ; and these thine eyes, 
These the bright lamps of beauty, that command 
And threaten love ; and what young maid dare cross 
What a bold gravity, and yet inviting, ['em? 

Has this brown, manly face ! Oh, Love, this only 
From this hour is complexion. Lie there, Arcite ! 
Thou art a changeling to him, a mere gipsy, 
And this the noble body. — I am sotted, 
Utterly lost ! My virgin faith has fled me, 
For if my brother but e'en now had asked me 
Whe'ther I loved, I had run mad for Arcite ; 
Now, if my sister, more for Palamon. fer ; — 

Stand both together ! Now, come, ask me, broth- 
Alas, I know not ! Ask me now, sweet sister ; 
I may 1 go look ! What a mere child is fancy, 
That, having two fair gawds of equal sweetness, 
Can not distinguish, but must cry for both ! 

Enter a Gentleman. 

How now, sir ? 

Gent. From the noble duke, your brother, 

Madam, I bring you news : the knights are come ! 

Emi. To end the quarrel ? 

Gent. Yes. 

Emi. Would I might end first ■' 

What sins have I committed, chaste Diana, 
That my unspotted youth must now be soiled 
With blood of princes ? and my chastity 
Be made the altar, where the fives of lovers 
(Two greater and two better never yet 
Made mothers' joy) must be the sacrifice 
To my unhappy beauty ? 

Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, PERiTHOus.and Attend- 

Thes. Bring them in, 

Quickly, by any means ! I long to see them. — 
Your two contending lovers are returned, 
And with them their fair knights : now, my fair sister, 
You must love one of them. 

Emi. I had rather both. 

So neither for my sake should fall untimely. 

Enter Messenger. 

Thes. Who saw them ? 

l Qu. ? Must 7 

Per. I, awhile. 

Gent. And I. 

Thes. From whence come you, sir ? 

Mess. From the knights. 

Thes. Pray speak, 

You that have seen them, what they are. 

Mess. I will, sir, 

And truly what I think : six braver spirits [side,) 
Than these they've brought (if we judge by the out- 
I never saw, nor read of. He that stands 
In the first place with Arcite, by his seeming 
Should be a stout man, by his face a prince ; — 
His very looks so say him ; — his complexion 
Nearer a brown than black ; stern, and yet noble, 
Which shows him hardy, fearless, proud of dangers ; 
The circles of his eyes show fair 2 within him, 
And, as a heated lion, so he looks ; 
His hair hangs long behind him. black and shining 
Like raven's wings ; his shoulders broad and strong ; 
Armed long and round : and on his thigh a sword 
Hung by a curious baldrick. when he frowns 
To seal his will with ; better, o' my conscience, 
Was never soldier's friend. 

Thes. Thou hast well described him. 

Per. Yet, a great deal short, 

Methinks of him that's first with Palamon. 

Thes. Pray speak him, friend. 

Per. I guess he is a prince too, 

And, if it may be, greater ; for his show 
Has all the ornament of honor in't. 
He's somewhat bigger than the knight he spoke of. 
But of a face far sweeter ; his complexion 
Is (as a ripe grape) ruddy ; he has felt, 
Without doubt, what he fights for, and so, apter 
To make this cause his own ; in's face appears 
All the fair hopes of what he undertakes ; 
And when he's angry, then a settled valor 
(Not tainted with extremes) runs through his body, 
And guides his arm to brave things ; fear he can not ; 
He shows no such soft temper ; his head's yellow, 
Hard-haired and curled, thick twined, like ivy tops, 
Not to undo with thunder ; in his face 
The livery of the warlike maid appears, 
Pure red and white, for yet no beard has blessed him ; 
And in his rolling eyes sits Victory, 
As if she ever meant to crown 3 his valor ; 
His nose stands high, a character of honor, 
His red lips, after fights, are fit for ladies. 

Emi. Must these men die too ? 

Per. When he speaks, his tongue 

Sounds like a trumpet ; all his lineaments 
Are as a man would wish them, strong and clean ; 
He wears a well-steeled axe, the staff of gold; 
His age some five-and-twenty. 

Mess. There's another, 

A little man, but of a tough soul, seeming 
As great as any ; fairer promises 
In such a body yet I never looked on. 

Per. Oh, he that's freckle-faced ? 

Mess. The same, my lord : 

Are they not sweet ones ? 

Per. Yes, they're well. 

Mess. Methinks, 

2 Fair. So the originals. The modern reading is far — 
implying deep-seated eyes. Fair may be received in the 
sense of clear. 

3 Crown— the original has correct. 



Being so few, and well-disposed, they show 
Great, and fine art in Nature. He's white-haired, 
Not wanton-white, but such a manly color 
Next to an auburn ; tough, and nimble set, 
Which shows an active soul ; his arms are brawny, 
Lined with strong sinews ; to the shoulder-piece 
Gently they swell, like women new-conceived, 
Which speaks him prone to labor, never fainting 
Under the weight of arms ; stout-hearted ; still ; 
But, when he stirs, a tiger ; he's gray-eyed, 
Which yields compassion where he conquers ; sharp 
To spy advantages, and, where he finds 'em, 
He's swift to make 'em his ; he does no wrongs, 
Nor takes none ; he's round-faced, and when he smiles 
He shows a lover ; when he frowns, a soldier j 
About his head he wears the winner's oak, 
And in it stuck the favor of his lady ; 
His age, some six-and-thirty. In his hand 
He bears a charging-staff, embossed with silver. 

Thes. Are they all thus ? 

Per. They're all the sons of honor. 

Thes. Now, as I have a soul, I long to see them .' 
Lady, you shall see men fight now. 

Hip. I wish it, 

But not the cause, my lord : they would show [fight] 
Bravely, about the titles of two kingdoms. 
'Tis pity love should be so tyrannous. 
Oh, my soft-hearted sister, what think you? 
Weep not, till they weep blood, wench ! It must be. 

Thes. You've steeled 'em with your beauty. Hon- 
ored friend, 
To you I give the field ; pray order it, 
Fitting the persons that must use it ! 

Per. Yes, sir. 

Thes. Come, I'll go visit them: I can not stay — 
Their fame has fired me so — till they appear ; 
Good friend, be royal ! 

Pei-. There shall want no bravery. 

Emi. Poor wench, go weep ; for whosoever wins, 
Loses a noble cousin for thy sins. [Exeunt. 

Enter Gaoler, Wooer, and Doctor. 

Doctor. Her distraction is more at some time of the 
moon than at other some, is it not ? 

Gaoler. She is continually in a harmless distemper ; 
sleeps little, altogether without appetite, save often 
drinking ; dreaming of another world, and a better ; 
and what broken piece of matter soe'er she's about, i 
the name Palamon lards it. That she farces every 
business withal, — fits it to every question. 

Enter Daughter. 

Look, where she comes ! you shall perceive her be- 

Daugh. I have forgot it quite ; the burden on't was 
" down-a-down-a ;" and penned by no worse man 
than Giraldo, Emilia's schoolmaster: he's as fantas- 
tical too, as ever he may go upon's legs ; for in the 
next world will Dido see Palamon, and then will she 
be out of love with iEneas. 

Doctor. What stuff's here ? poor soul ! 

Gaoler. Even thus all day long. 

Daugh. Now for this charm that I told you of; you 
must bring a piece of silver on the tip of your tongue, 

or no ferry : then if it be your chance to come where 
the blessed spirits (as there's a sight now), we maids 
that have our fivers perished, cracked to pieces with 
love, we shall come there, and do nothing all day long 
but pick flowers with Proserpine ; then will I make 
Palamon a nosegay ; then let him — mark me — then ! 

Doctor. How prettily she's amiss ! note her a little 
further ! 

Daugh. Faith, I'll tell you ; sometime we go to 
barley-break, we of the blessed ; alas, 'tis a sore life 
they have i' the other place ! If one be mad, or 
hang, or drown themselves, thither they go ; Jupiter 
bless us ! 

Doctor. How she continues this fancy ! 'Tis not 
au engrafted madness, but a most thick and profound 

Daugh. To hear there a proud lady, and a proud 
city- wife, howl together ! I were a beast, an I'd call 
it good sport I 1 [Sings. 

" I will be true, my stars, my fate," &c. 

[Exit Daughter. 

Gaoler. What think you of her, sir ? 

Doctor. I think she has a perturbed mind, which I 
can not minister to. 

Gaoler. Alas, what then ? 

Doctor. Understand you she ever affected any man 
ere she beheld Palamon ? 

Gaoler. I was once, sir, in great hope she had fixed 
her liking on this gentleman, my friend. 

Wooer. I did think so too ; and would account I 
had a great pennyworth on't, to give half my state, 
that both she and I at this present stood unfeignedly 
on the same terms. 

Doctor. That intemperate surfeit of her eye hath 
distempered the other senses ; they may return, and 
settle again to execute their preordained faculties ; 
but they are now in a most extravagant vagary. 
This you must do : confine her to a place where the 
light may rather seem to steal in, than be permitted. 
Take upon you (young sir, her friend) the name of 
Palamon ; say you come to eat with her, and to com- 
mune of love ; this will catch her attention, for this 

1 We have again been compelled to employ the pruning- 
knife. Our edition is for general readers, as well as for 
critical students. The essential difference between Shak- 
speare and Fletcher makes it necessary to adopt a different 
course with reference to the two writers. It is not a false 
reverence for Shakspeare that calls upon an editor to leave 
his text unchanged ; but a just discrimination between the 
quality of what is offensive in him and in other writers of 
his age. Coleridge has defined this difference with his usu- 
al philosophical judement : " Even Shakspeare's grossness 
— that which is really so, independently of the increase in 
modern times of vicious associations with things indifferent 
— (for there is a state of manners conceivable so pure, that 
the language of Hamlet at Ophelia's feet might be a harmless 
rallying, or playful teazing, of a shame that would exist in 
Paradise) — at the worst, how diverse in kind is it from 
Beaumont and Fletcher's ! In Shakspeare it is the mere 
generalities of sex, mere words for the most part, seldom or 
never distinct images, all headwork, and fancy-drolleries ; 
there is no sensation supposed in the speaker. I need not 
proceed to contrast this with Beaumont and Fletcher."* 

* I see no reason to disturb the opinions or depart from 
the rule which Mr. Knight has prescribed for himself, in the 
exclusion of offensive passages. Certainly, the fancy of the 
gaoler's daughter is not that of Ophelia ; and there can be 
no better illustration of the author's inferiority as an artist, 
than in the sudden change in her character, from the strong- 
willed and somewhat coarse rustic, to the creature of such 
delicate sensibilities as he here endeavors to describe her. It 
was an after-thought to make her resemble Ophelia. In the 
first scenes she is totally unlike — indeed, a very good con- 
trast, were it our cue to seek one. 



her mind beats upon ; other objects, that are inserted 
'tween her mind and eye, become the pranks and frisk- 
ings of her madness ; sing to her such green songs of 
love, as she says Palamon hath sung in prison ; come 
to her, stuck in as sweet flowers as the season is mis- 
tress of, and thereto make an addition of some other 
compounded odors, which are grateful to the sense : 
all this shall become Palamon, for Palamon can sing, 
and Palamon is sweet, and every good thing ; desire 
to eat with her, carve for her, drink to her, and still 
intermingle your petition of grace and acceptance in- 
to her favor ; learn what maids have been her com- 
panions and play-heers j 1 and let them repair to her 
with Palamon in their mouths, and appear with to- 
kens, as if they suggested for him : it is a falsehood 
she is in, which is with falsehoods to be combated. 
This may bring her to eat, to sleep, and reduce what 
are now out of square in her, into their former law 
and regimen : I have seen it approved, how many 
times I know not ; but to make the number more, I 
have great hope in this. I will, between the passages 
of this project, come in with my appliance. Let us 
put it in execution ; and hasten the success, which, 
doubt not, will bring forth comfort. 




Enter Theseus, Perithous, Hippolyta, and At- 

Thes. Now let them enter, and before the gods 
Tender their holy prayers ! Let the temples 
Burn bright with sacred fires, and the altars 
In hallowed clouds commend their swelling incense 
To those above us ! Let no due be wanting ! 

[Flourish of cornets. 
They have a noble work in hand, will honor 
The very powers that love them. 

Enter Palamon, Arcite, and their Knights. 

Per. Sir, they enter. 

Thes. You valiant and strong-hearted enemies, 
You royal germane foes, that this day come 
To blow that nearness out that flames between ye, 
Lay by your anger for an hour, and, dove-like, 
Before the holy altars of your helpers, — 
The all-feared gods — bow down your stubborn bodies ! 
Your ire is more than mortal ; so your help be ! 
And, as the gods regard ye, fight with justice ! 
I'll leave you to your prayers, and betwixt ye 
I part my wishes. 

Per. Honor crown the worthiest ! 

[Exeunt Thes. and Train. 

Pal. The glass is running now that can not finish 
Till one of us expire : think you but thus ; 
That were there aught in me which strove to show 
Mine enemy in this business, wer't one eye 
Against another, arm oppressed by arm, 
I would destroy the offender ; coz, I would, 
Though parcel of myself ! — Then from this gather 
How I should tender you ! 

1 Playheers— playfellows. 

Arc. I am in labor 

To push your name, your ancient love, our kindred, 
Out of my memory ; and, i' the self-same place, 
To seat something I would confound : so hoist we 
The sails that must these vessels port 2 even where 
The heavenly Limiter pleases ! 

Pal. You speak well : 

Before I turn, let me embrace thee, cousin ! 
This I shall never do again. 
Arc. One farewell ! - 

Pal. Why, let it be so : farewell, coz ! 
Arc. Farewell, sir ! 

[Exeunt Pal. and his Knights. 
Knights, kinsmen, lovers, yea, my sacrifices, 
True worshippers of Mars, whose spirit in you 
Expels the seeds of fear, and th' apprehension, 
Which still is further off it, go with me 
Before the god of our profession ! There 
Require of him the hearts of lions, and 
The breath of tigers, yea, the fierceness too ! 
Yea, the speed also ! to go on, I mean, 
Else wish we to be snails : you know my prize 
Must be dragged out of blood ! force and great feat 
Must put my garland on, where she will stick 
The queen of flowers ; our intercession then 
Must be to him that makes the camp a cestronS 
Brimmed 4 with the blood of men ; give me your aid, 
And bend your spirits toward him ! — 

[ They kneel. 
Thou mighty one, that with thy power hast turned 
Green Neptune into purple f [whose approach] 6 
Comets prewarn ; whose havoc in vast field 
Unearthed skulls proclaim ; whose breath blows down 
The teeming Ceres' foison ; who dost pluck 
With hand armipotent from forth blue clouds 
The masoned turrets ; that both mak'st and break'st 
The stony girths of cities ; me, thy pupil, 
Young'st follower of thy drum, instruct this day 
With military skill, that to thy laud 
I may advance my streamer, and by thee 
Be styled the lord o'the day ! Give me, great Mars, 
Some token of thy pleasure ! 

[Here they fall on their faces as formerly, and there is 
heard clanging of armor, with a short thunder, as 
the burst of a battle, whereupon they all rise, and 
bow to the altar. 
Oh, great corrector of enormous times, 
Shaker of o'er-rank states, thou grand decider 
Of dusty and old titles, that healest with blood 
The earth when it is sick, and curest the world 
Of the plurisy 7 of people ; I do take 
Thy signs auspiciously, and in thy name 
To my design march boldly. Let us go ! 


2 Seward reads "part," a reading that seems more obvious 
without being quite so certain. The port at which these 
vessels must arrive, would seem to be necessarily indicated 
by the reference to the heavenly " Limiter" — it is to the 
limit of the voyage that he alludes. 

3 Ceston I suppose to be the proper word — i. e., "a stud- 
ded girdle" — a not inappropriate figure descriptive of the 
ring, or circle of spectators assembled to behold the fight. 

■* Some of the old copies read "primed" for " brimmed." 

5 " Making the green one red." 

6 The words in brackets are not in the original copies, but 
were added by Seward. As something is evidently wanting, 
the addition is judicious. 

T Plurisy— used by the old poets for fulness.* 
* And yet, as to let blood was to cure pleurisy, the invo- 
cation to Mars, for this object, might have no sort of refer- 
ence to the world's repletion. Mars was the great bleeder. 



Enter Palamon and his Knights, with the former ob- 

Pal. Our stars must glister with new fire, or be 
To-day extinct : our argument is love, 
Which if the goddess of it grant, she gives 
Victory too : then blend your spirits with mine, 
You, whose free nobleness do make my cause 
Your personal hazard ! To the goddess Venus 
Commend we our proceeding, and implore 
Her power unto our party ! 

[Here they kneel. 
Hail, sovereign queen of secrets ! who hast power 
To call the fiercest tyrant from his rage, 
To weep unto 1 a girl ; that hast the might 
Even with an eye-glance to choke Mars's drum, 
And turn th' alarm to whispers ; that canst make 
A cripple flourish with his crutch, and cure him 
Before Apollo ; that mayst force the king 
To be his subjects' vassal, and induce 
Stale gravity to dance ; the polled' 2 bachelor 
(Whose youth, like wanton boys through bonfires, 
Have skipped thy flame) at seventy thou canst catch, 
And make him, to the scorn of his hoarse throat, 
Abuse young lays of love. What godlike power 
Hast thou not power upon ? To Phoebus thou 
Add'st flames, hotter than his ; the heavenly fires 
Did scorch his mortal son, thine him ; the huntress, 
All moist and cold, some say, began to throw 
Her bow away, and sigh ; take to thy grace 
Me thy vowed soldier ! who do bear thy yoke 
As 'twere a wreath of roses, yet it is 
Heavier than lead itself, stings more than nettles : 
I've never been foul-mouthed against thy law ; 
Ne'er revealed secret, for I knew none ; would not 
Had I kenned all that were. I never practised 
Upon man's wife, nor would the libels read 
Of liberal wits ; I never at great feasts 
Sought to betray a beauty, but have blushed 
At simpering sirs that did. I have been harsh 
To large confessors, and have hotly asked them 
If they had mothers? — I had one, a woman, 
And women 'twere they wronged. I knew a man 
Of eighty winters (this I told them), who 
A lass of fourteen brided ; 'twas thy power 
To put life into dust ; the aged cramp 
Had screwed his square foot round ; 
The gout had knit his fingers into knots, 
Torturing convulsions from his globy eyes 
Had almost drawn their spheres, that what was life, 
In him, seemed torture ; this anatomy 
Had, by his young fair pheer, a boy, and I 
Believed it was his, for she swore it was, 
And who would not believe her ? Brief, I am 
To those that prate, and have done, no companion ; 
To those that boast, and have not, a defier ; 
To those that would, and can not, a rejoicer ; 3 
Yea, him I do not love that tells close offices 
The foulest way, nor names concealments in 

1 Theobald reads "into" instead of "unto," which I think 
the far preferable reading. To weep unto a girl seems 
scarcely to convey the intended idea. 

2 Thus the old copy, but that the bachelor should be 
polled, is a matter of course. Perhaps we should read, the 
" bald bachelor," or the " poll-bald" bachelor. Either reading 
will meet the wants of the sense. 

3 I leave this passage as I find it, but would suggest the 
reading as follows, by which, changing the word " defier" 

The boldest language : such a one I am [not 4 ] 

And vow that lover never yet made sigh 

Truer than I. Oh, then, most soft sweet goddess, 

Give me the victory of this question, which 

Is true love's merit, 5 and bless me with a sign 

Of thy great pleasure ! 

[Here music is heard, doves are seen to flutter ; they 
fall again upon their faces, then on their knees. 
Oh, thou that from eleven to ninety reign'st 
In mortal bosoms, whose chase is this [whole] world, 
And we in herds thy game, I give thee thanks 
For this fair token, — which being laid unto 
Mine innocent true heart, arms, in assurance, 

[ They bow. 
My body to this business. Let us rise 
And bow before the goddess ! Time comes on. 

[Still music of records. 

Enter Emilia in white, her hair about her shoulders, a 
wheaten wreath ; one in white holding up her train, 
her hair stuck with flowers ; one before her carrying 
a silver hind, in which is conveyed incense and sweet 
odors, which being set upon the altar, her Maids 
standing aloof, she sets fire to it ; then they courtesy 
and kneel. 

Emi. Oh, sacred, shadowy, cold, and constant 
Abandoner of revels, mute, contemplative, [queen, 
Sweet, solitary, white as chaste, and pure 
As wind-fanned snow, who, to thy female knights, 
Allow'st no more blood than will make a blush, 
Which is their order's robe ; I here, thy priest, 
Am humbled 'fore thine altar. Oh, vouchsafe, 
With that thy rare green 6 eye, which never yet 
Beheld thing maculate, look on thy virgin ! 
And, sacred silver mistress, lend thine ear 
(Which ne'er heard scurril term, into whose port 
Ne'er entered wanton sound) to my petition, 
Seasoned with holy fear ! This is my last 
Of vestal office ; I'm bride-habited, 
But maiden-hearted ; a husband I've appointed, 
But do not know him ; out of two I should 
Choose one, and pray for his success, but I 
Am guiltless of election of mine eyes. 
Were I to lose one (they are equal precious), 
I could doom neither ; that which perished should 
Go to't unsentenced : therefore, most modest queen, 
He, of the two pretenders, that best loves me, 
And has the truest title in't, let him 

into " desire," it appears to me we compass and supply all its 
deficiencies : — 

" Brief I am, 
To those that prate and have done ;* no companion 
To those that boast, and have not a desire ; 
To those that would and can not, a rejoicer ;"t &c. 

* That is, to those that prate only, and do no more than 

t That is, doing for them what they desire to have done, 
and can not do for themselves. The prayer is to Venus. 
The difficulty is in saying those things it might be grateful 
to hear, yet which decency would not suffer to be spoken 
except ambiguously. 

* The sense seems to demand the negative in this place. 

5 " Meed," perhaps. 

6 A green eye for Diana is something of a novelty. For 
" rare green," Seward reads " rare sheen," which does not 
greatly help the matter. Why not " rare seen"— which ap- 
plied to chastity would be proper enough 1 But is it not 
possible that " virgin" has, by the rare faculty which types 
have of perversion, been converted into those two strangely 
misplaced words. 



Take off my wheaten garland, or else grant 
The file and quality I hold, I may 
Continue in thy band ! 

[Here the hind vanishes under the altar, and in the 
place ascends a rose-tree, having one rose upon it. 
See what our general of ebbs and flows 
Out from the bowels of her holy altar 
With sacred act advances ! But one rose ? 
If well inspired, this battle shall confound 
Both these brave knights, and I a virgin flower 
Must grow alone unplucked. 

[Here is heard a sudden twang of instruments, 
and the rose falls from the tree. 
The flower is fall'n, the tree descends ! Oh, mistress, 
Thou here dischargest me ; I shall be gathered ; 
I think so ; but I know not thine 1 own will : 
Unclasp thy mystery ! — I hope she's pleased ; 
Her signs were gracious. 

[They courtesy, and exeunt. 


Enter Doctor, Gaoler, and Wooer (in habit of 

Doctor. Has this advice I told you 

Done any good upon her ? 

Wooer. Oh. very much : 

The maids that kept her company, 
Have half persuaded her that I am Palamon ; 
Within this half-hour she came smiling to me, 
And asked me what I'd eat, and when I'd kiss her: 
I told her presently, and kissed her twice. 

Doctor. 'Twas well done ! twenty times had been 
far better ; 
For there the cure lies mainly. 

Wooer. Then she told me 

She'd watch with me to-night, for well she knew 
What hour my fit would take me. 

Doctor. Let her do so. 

Wooer. She'd have me sing. 

Doctor. You did so ? 

Wooer. No. 

Doctor. 'Twas very ill done, then : 
You should observe her every way. 

Wooer. Alas ! 

I have no voice, sir, to confirm her that way. 

Doctor. That's all one, if you [only] make a noise : 
Pray bring her in, and let's see how she is. 

Gaoler. I will, and tell her Palamon stays for her. 


Doctor. How old is she ? 

Wooer. She's eighteen. 

Doctor. She may be ; 

But that's all one, 'tis nothing to our purpose. 2 

Enter Gaoler, Daughter, and Maid. 
Gaoler. Come ; your love Palamon stays for you, 
And has done this long hour, to visit you. [child ; 

Daugh. I thank him for his gentle patience ; 
He's a kind gentleman, and I'm much bound to him. 
Did you ne'er see the horse he gave me ? 
Gaoler. Yes. 

1 Query : mine ? 

2 Mr. Knight has taken large liberties in lopping off por- 
tions of this scene, on the score of its obscenities. It is for- 
tunate that the portions thus exscinded, are as dull as they 
are vicious. We lose nothing. 

Daugh. How do you like him ? 

Gaoler. He's a very fair one. 

Daugh. You never saw him dance ? 

Gaoler. No. 

Daugh. I have often : 

He dances very finely, very come [li] ly ; 
And, for a jig, come cut and long tail to him ! 
He turns you like a top. 

Gaoler. That's fine indeed. 

Daugh. He'll dance the morris twenty miles an 
And that will founder the best hobby-horse 
(If I have any skill) in all the parish : 
And gallops to the tune of " Light o'love :" 
What think you of this horse ? 

Gaoler. Having these virtues, 

I think he might be brought to play at tennis. 

Daugh. Alas, that's nothing. 

Gaoler. Can he write and read too? 

Daugh. A very fair hand ; and casts himself the 
Of all his hay and provender : that ostler 
Must rise betime that cozens him. You know 
The chestnut mare the duke has ? 

Gaoler. Yery well. 

Daugh. She's horribly in love with him, poor 
But he is like his master, coy and scornful, [beast ; 

Gaoler. What dowry has she ? 

Daugh. Some two hundred bottles 

And twenty strike of oats : but he'll ne'er have her ; 
He lisps in's neighing, able to entice 
A miller's mare ; he'll be the death of her. 

Doctor. What stuff she utters ! 

Gaoler. Make courtesy ; here your love comes ! 

Wooer. Pretty soul, 

How do you ? That's a fine maid ! there's a court- 
esy ! 

Daugh. Yours to command i' the way of honesty. 
How far is't now to the end o' the world, my mas- 
ters ? 

Doctor. Why, a day's journey, wench. 

Daugh. Will you go with me ? 

Wooer. What shall we do there, wench ? 

Daugh. Why, play at stool-ball, 

What is there else to do ? 

Wooer. I am content, 

If we shall keep our wedding there. 

Daugh. 'Tis true ; 

For there I will assure you we shall find 
Some blind priest for the purpose, that will venture 
To marry us, for here they're nice and foolish ; 
Besides, my father must be hanged to-morrow, 
And that would be a blot i' the business. 
Are not you Palamon ? 

Wooer. Do you not know me ? 

Daugh. Yes ; but you care not for me : I have 
But this poor petticoat, and two coarse smocks. 

Wooer. That's all one ; I will have you. 

Daugh. Will you surely ? 3 

Wooer. Why do you rub my kiss off? 

Daugh. 'Tis a sweet one, 

3 Here again occurs one of Mr. Knight's omissions, of 
which he savs nothing — indecencies truly, but of the very 
sort that we find in Hamlet, and scarcely worse. I should 
not scruple to restore this matter were it at all necessary to 
the spirit of the scene. 



And will perfume me finely 'gainst the wedding. 
Is not this your cousin Arcite ? 

Doctor. Yes, sweetheart ; 

And I am glad my cousin Palamon 
Has made so fair a choice. 

Daugh. Do you think he'll have me ? 

Doctor. Yes, without doubt. 

Daugh. Do you think so too ? 

Gaoler. Yes. 

Daugh. We shall have many children. — Lord, how 
you're grown ! 
My Palamon I hope will grow, too, finely, 
Now he's at liberty ; alas, poor chicken, 
He was kept down with hard meat, and ill-lodging, 
But I will kiss him up again. 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. What do you here ? 

You'll lose the noblest sight that e'er was seen. 

Gaoler. Are they i' the field ? 

Mess. They are : 

You bear a charge there too. 

Gaoler. I'll away straight, 

I must even leave you here. 

Doctor. Nay, we'll go with you ; 

I will not lose the fight. 

Gaoler. How did you like her ? 

Doctor. I'll warrant you within these three or four 
I'll make her right again. You must not from her, 
But still preserve her in this way. 

Wooer. I will. 

Doctor. Let's get her in. 

Wooer. Come, sweet, we'll go to dinner ; 

And then we'll play at cards. 1 

Daugh. And shall we kiss too ? 

Wooer. An hundred times. 3 


Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, Perithous, and 

Emi. I'll no step further. 

Per. Will you lose this sight ? 

Emi. I had rather see a wren hawk at a fly, 
Than this decision : every blow that falls 
Threats a brave life ; each stroke laments 
The place whereon it falls, and sounds more like 
A bell, than blade : I will stay here : 
It is enough my hearing shall be punished 
With what shall happen ('gainst the which there is 
No dealing) , but to hear, not taint mine eye 
With dread sights it may shun. 

Per. Sir, my good lord, 

Your sister will no further. 

Thes. Oh, she must : 

She shall see deeds of honor in their kind, 
Which sometime 3 show well-pencilled : Nature now 

l This scene, as it stands in the original, contains impuri- 
ties of thought far more corrupting than any indelicacies of 
language alone. We have pursued the same course as in 
two previous instances. 

* These are two of Mr. Knight's excluded lines, and are 
only objected to as they are supposed to lead to worse. 

3 Seward reads for " sometime show," " Time will show." 
Perhaps the addition of the letter "s" to sometime, will 
answer the purpose. The duke means to say she will see 
in reality those deeds of honor which she has only seen in 

Shall make and act the story, the belief 
Both sealed with eye and ear. You must be present ; 
You are the victor's meed, the price and garland 
To crown the question's title. 

Emi. Pardon me ; 

If I were there, I'd wink. 

Thes. You must be there ; 

This trial is as 'twere i' the night, and you 
The only star to shine. 

Emi. I am extinct ; 

There is but envy in that light, which shows 
The one the other. Darkness, which ever was 
The dam of Horror, who does stand accursed 
Of many mortal millions, may, even now, 
By casting her black mantle over both, 
That neither could find [th'j other, get herself 
Some part of a good name ; and many a murder 
Set off whereto she's guilty. 

Hip. You must go. 

Emi. In faith, I will not. 

Thes. Why, the knights must kindle 

Their valor at your eye. Know, of this war 
You are the treasure, and must needs be by 
To give the service pay. 

Emi. Sir, pardon me ; 

The title of a kingdom may be tried 
Out of itself. 

Thes. Well, well, then, at your pleasure ! 

Those that remain with you could wish their office 
To any of their enemies. 

Hip. Farewell, sister ! 

I'm like to know your husband 'fore yourself, 
By some small start of time : he whom the gods 
Do of the two know best, I pray them, he 
Be made your lot ! 

[Exeunt Theseus, Hippolyta, Perithous, &c. 

Emi. Arcite is gently visaged : yet his eye 
Is like an engine bent, or a sharp weapon 
In a soft sheath ; mercy and manly courage 
Are bedfellows in his visage. Palamon 
Has a most menacing aspect ; his brow 
Is graved, and seems to bury what it frowns on ; 
Yet sometimes 'tis not so, but alters to 
The quality of his thoughts ; long time his eye 
Will dwell upon his object ; melancholy 
Becomes him nobly ; so does Arcite's mirth ; 
But Palamon's sadness is a kind of mirth, 
So mingled, as if mirth did make him sad, 
And sadness, merry ; those dark 4 humors that 
Stick misbecomingly on others, in him 5 
Live in fair dwelling. 

[Cm-nets. Trumpets sound as to a charge. 
Hark, how yon spurs to spirit do incite 
The princes to their proof! Arcite may win me ; 
And yet may Palamon wound Arcite, to 
The spoiling of his figure. Oh, what pity ! 
Enough for such a chance .' If I were by, 
I might do hurt ; for they would glance their eyes 
Toward my seat, and, in that motion, might 
Omit a ward, or forfeit an offence, 
Which craved that very time ; it is much better 

[Cornets. Cry within, A Palamon ! 

4 Other copies read " darker humors." 

5 Mr. Seward first writes " on him," and is followed in this 
reading by Mr. Knight. I can not doubt that we should say 
" in him." They are merely grafts on others, in him they 
are native. It is " in him," that they " live in fair dwelling." 



I am not there ; oh, better never born 

Than minister to such harm ! — What is the chance ? 

Enter a Servant. 

Serv. The cry's a Palamon. 

Emi. Then he has won. 'Twas ever likely : 
He looked all grace and success, and he is 
Doubtless the prim'st of men. I prithee run, 
And tell me how it goes. 

[Shout and cornets ; cry, A Palamon ! 

Serv. Still Palamon. 

Emi. Run and inquire. Poor servant, thou hast 
lost ! 
Upon my right side still I wore thy picture, 
Palamon's on the left : why so, I know not ; 
I had no end in't else ; chance would have it so. 

[Another cry and shout within, and cornets. 
On the sinister side the heart lies : Palamon 
Had the best-boding chance. This burst of clamor 
Is sure the end o' the combat. 

Enter Servant. 

Serv. They said that Palamon had Arcite's body 
Within an inch o' the pyramid ; that the cry 
Was general, a Palamon ; but, anon, 
The assistants made a brave redemption, and 
The two bold tilters at this instant are 
Hand to hand at it. 

Emi. Were they metamorphosed 

Both into one ! — Oh, why? There were no woman 
Worth so composed a man ! Their single share, 
Their nobleness peculiar to them, gives 
The prejudice of disparity, value's shortness, 

[Cornets. Cry within, Arcite, Arcite ! 
To any lady breathing. 1 — More exulting ! 
Palamon still ! 

Serv. Nay, now the sound is Arcite. 

Emi. I prithee lay attention to the cry ; 

[Cornets. A great shout and cry, Arcite, victory ! 
Set both thine ears to the business. 

Serv. The cry is 

Arcite, and victory .' Hark ! Arcite, victory ! 
The combat's consummation is proclaimed 
By the wind-instruments. 

Emi. Half-sights saw 

That Arcite was no babe ! God's 'lid, his richness 
And costliness of spirit looked through him ! — could 
No more be hid in him than fire in flax, 
Than humble banks can go to law with waters, 
That drift winds force to raging. I did think 
Good Palamon would miscarry ; yet I knew not 
Why I did think so : our reasons are not prophets, 
When oft our fancies are. They're coming off: 
Alas, poor Palamon ! [Cornets. 


Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Perithous, Arcite as 
Victor, Attendants, &c. 

Thes. Lo, where our sister is in expectation, 
Yet quaking and unsettled. Fairest Emilia, 

i This passage is very obscure. The first expression is 
that of a wish that the two should be resolved into one. 
But the speaker instantly checks herself, exclaiming, " Why 
should I wish so, when there were no woman worth so com- 
posed a man !" The single shade of nobleness peculiar to 
each, subjects all, however, to the prejudice of disparity, 
and makes their value fall short of the wonderful standard 
of excellence which such men might reasonably desire and 

The gods, by their divine arbitrament, 
Have given you this knight : he is a good one 
As ever struck at head. Give me your hands ! 
Receive her, you ; you him ; be plighted with 
A love that grows as you decay ! 

Arc. Emilia, 

To buy you I have lost what's dearest to me, 
Save what is bought ; and yet I purchase cheaply, 
As I do rate your value. 

Thes. Oh, loved sister, 

He speaks now of as brave a knight as e'er 
Did spur a noble steed ; surely the gods 
Would have him die a bachelor, lest his race 
Should show i' the world too godlike ! His behavior 
So charmed me, that methought Alcides was 
To him a sow 2 of lead : if I could praise 
Each part of him to the all I've spoke, your Arcite 
Did not lose by't ; for he that was thus good, 
Encountered yet his better. I have heard 
Two emulous Philomels beat the ear o' the night 
With their contentious throats ; now one the higher, 
Anon the other ; then again the first, 
And by-and-by out-breasted, that the sense 
Could not be judge between them : so it fared 
Good space between these kinsmen ; till heavens did 
Make hardly one the winner. Wear the garland 
With joy that you have won ! For the subdued, 
Give them our present justice, since I know 
Their lives but pinch them ; let it here be done. 
The scene's not for our seeing : go we hence, 
Right joyful, with some sorrow! Arm your prize : 3 
I know you will not lose her. Hippolyta, 
I see one eye of yours conceives a tear, 
The which it will deliver. [Flourish. 

Emi. Is this winning ? 

Oh, all you heavenly powers, where is your mercy? 
But that your wills have said it must be so, 
And charge me live to comfort, thus unfriended, 
This miserable prince, that cuts away 
A life more worthy from him than all women, 
I should and would die too. 

Hip. Infinite pity, 

That four such eyes should be so fixed on one, 
That two must needs be blind for't ! 

Thes. So it is. 



Enter Palamon and his Knights pinioned, Gaoler, 
Executioner, and Guard. 

Pal. There's many a man alive that hath out- 
The love o' the people ; yea, i' the self-same state 
Stands many a father with his child : some comfort 
We have by so considering ; we expire, 
And not without men's pity ; to live still, 
Have their good wishes ; we prevent 
The loathsome misery of age ; beguile 
The gout and rheum, that in lag hours attend 
For gray approachers ; we come tow'rd the gods 

2 " Pig" of lead would be better understood by the mod- 
erns, unless we told them that in the old English the word 
" sow" was sometimes used to signify " head." The mean- 
ing is that Alcides was " leaden-headed to him." 

3 Arm your prize— offer your arm to the lady you have 



Young, and unwappened, 1 not halting under crimes 
Many and stale ; that sure shall please the gods 
Sooner than such, to give us nectar with them, 
For we are more clear spirits. My dear kinsmen, 
Whose lives (for this poor comfort) are laid down, 
You've sold them too, too cheap. 

1 Knight. What ending could be 
Of more content ? O'er us the victors have 
Fortune, whose title is as momentary 

As to us death is certain ; a grain of honor 
They not o'erweigh us. 

2 Knight. Let us bid farewell ; 
And with our patience anger tott'ring fortune, 
Who, at her certain'st, reels ! 

3 Knight. Come ; who begins ? 
Pal. Even he that led you to this banquet shall 

Taste to you all. Ah-ha, my friend, my friend ! 
Your gentle daughter gave me freedom once ; 
You'll see't done now for ever. Pray, how does she ? 
I heard she was not well ; her kind of ill 
Gave me some sorrow. 

Gaoler. Sir, she's well restored, 

And to be married shortly. 

Pal. By my short life, 

I am most glad on't ! 'tis the latest thing 
I shall be glad of; prithee tell her so ; 
Commend me to her, and to piece her portion 
Tender her this. 

1 Knight. Nay. let's be offerers all ! 

2 Knight. Is it a maid? 

Pal. Verily, I think so ; 

A right good creature, more to me deserving 
Than I can 'quite or speak of ! 

All Knights. Commend us to her. 

[Give their purses. 

Gaoler. The gods requite you all, 

And make her thankful ! 

Pal. Adieu ! and let my life be now as short 
As my leave-taking. [Lies on the block. 

1 Knight. Lead, courageous cousin ! 

2 Knight. We'll follow cheerfully. 

[A great noise within, crying, Run, save, hold ! 

Enter in haste a Messenger. 
Mess. Hold, hold ! oh, hold, hold, hold P 
Enter Perithous in haste. 

Per. Hold, hoa ! it is a cursed haste you made, 
If you have done so quickly. — Noble Palamon, 
The gods will show their glory in a life 
That thou art yet to lead. 

Pal. Can that be, 

When Venus I've said is false ? How do things fare ? 

Per. Arise, great sir, and give the tidings ear 
That are most dearly sweet and bitter ! 

Pal. What 

Hath waked us from our dream ? 

I Unwappened. The originals have unwappered. Without 
knowing exactly the meaning of the word wappened, we 
would receive the epithet here as the opposite to that in Ti- 
mon — 

" That makes the wappened widow wed again."* 

* Wappened, according to Stevens, from wap, futuo. Wap- 
ping is quaking ; i. e., " We come before the gods, young 
and without fear." But, after all, the word may be "un- 

* Two of these monosyllables may be omitted with per- 
fect propriety, and to the improvement of the rhythm. 

Per. List then ! Your cousin, 

Mounted upon a steed that Emily 
Did first bestow on him — a black one, owning 
Not a hair-worth of white, which some will say 
Weakens his price, and many will not buy 
His goodness with this note — which superstition 
Here finds allowance : — on this horse is Arcite, 
Trotting the stones of Athens, which the calkins 3 
Did rather tell than trample ; for the horse 
Would make his length a mile, if't pleased his rider 
To put pride in him : — as he thus went, counting 
The flinty pavement, dancing as 'twere to music 
His own hoofs made (for, as they say, from iron 
Came music's origin), what envious flint, 
Cold as old Saturn, and, like him, possessed 
With fire malevolent, darted a spark — 
Or what fierce sulphur else, to this end made, 
I comment not ; — the hot horse, hot as fire, 
Took toy at this, and fell to what disorder 
His power could give his will ; bounds, comes on end, 
Forgets school-doing, being therein trained, 
And of kind manege ; pig-like 4 he whines 
At the sharp rowel, which he frets at rather 
Than any jot obeys ; seeks all foul means 
Of boisterous and rough jadery, to dis-seat 
His lord that kept it bravely : When naught served, 
When neither curb would crack, girth break, nor dif- 
fering plunges 
Dis-root his rider whence he grew, but that 
He kept him 'tween his legs ; — on his hind hoofs, 
On end, he stands, 

That Arcite's legs being higher than his head, 
Seemed with strange art to hang : his victor's wreath 
Even then fell off his head ; and, presently, 
Backward the jade comes o'er, and his full poise 
Becomes the rider's load. Yet is he living ; 
But such a vessel 'tis, that floats but for 
The surge that next approaches. He much desires 
To have some speech with you. Lo, he appears ! 

Enter Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, Arcite, in a 

Pal. Oh, miserable end of our alliance ! 
The gods are mighty ! — Arcite, if thy heart, 
Thy worthy manly heart, be yet unbroken, 
Give me thy last words ! I am Palamon, 
One that yet loves thee dying. 

Arc. Take Emilia, 

And with her all the world's joy. Reach thy hand ; 
Farewell ! I've told my last hour. I was false, 
Yet never treacherous. Forgive me, cousin I 
One kiss from fair Emilia ! It is done : 
Take her. I die ! [Dies. 

Pal. Thy brave soul seek Elysium ! 

Emi. I'll close thine eyes, prince ; blessed souls be 
with thee ! 
Thou art a right good man ; and while I live 
This day I give to tears. 

Pal. And I to honor. 

Thes. In this place first you fought ; even very here 
I sundered you : acknowledge to the gods 
Our thanks that you are living. 
His part is played, and, though it were too short, 


3 Calkins — hoofs. 

* The image is a very vulgar one, and the line lacks a syl- 
lable. " Pigmy-like" might be the more appropriate read- 



He did it well : your day is lengthened, and 
The blissful dew of heaven does arrose you ; 
The powerful Venus well hath graced her altar 
And given you your love ; our master Mars 
Has vouched his oracle, and to Arcite gave 
The grace of the contention : so the deities 
Have shown due justice. Bear this hence ! 

Pal. Oh, cousin, 

That we should things desire, which do cost us 
The loss of our desire ! That naught could buy 
Dear love, but loss of dear love ! 

Thes. Never fortune 

Did play a subtler game : the conquered triumphs, 
The victor has the loss ; yet, in the passage, 
The gods have been most equal. Palamon, 
Your kinsman, hath confessed the right o' the lady 
Did lie in you ; for you first saw her, and 
Even then proclaimed your fancy. He restored her, 
As your stolen jewel, and desired your spirit 
To send him hence forgiven : the gods my justice 

Take from my hand, and they themselves become 

The executioners. Lead your lady off; 

And call your lovers 1 from the stage of death. 

Whom I adopt my friends ! A day or two 

Let us look sadly, and give grace unto 

The funeral of Arcite ; — in whose end 

The visages of bridegrooms we'll put on, 

And smile with Palamon ; for whom an hour, 

But one hour since, I was as dearly sorry, 

As glad of Arcite ; and am now as glad, 

As for him sorry. Oh, you heavenly charmers, 

What things you make of us ! For what we lack 

We laugh, for what we have are sorry ; still 

Are children in some kind. Let us be thankful 

For that which is, and with you leave disputes 

That are above our question ! Let's go off, 

And bear us like the time ! [Flourish. Exeunt. 

1 Lovers — companions, friends.* 

* So Mr. Knight; and yet, if written "followers," the 
sense and measure would be equally improved. 




This comedy was first published in 1605, with the 
following title : " The London Prodigall : as it was 
plaide by the King's Majestie's Servants : By William 
Shakspeare. London : Printed by T. C, for Nathan- 
iel Butler." T. C. was Thomas Creede, and Nathan- 
iel Butler was the bookseller, who, three years after- 
ward, published King Lear. 

" Concerning the origin of this play, having been 
ever ascribed to Shakspeare, I have not been able to 
form any probable hypothesis." This is the language 
ofMalone. He adds: "One knows not which most to 
admire, the impudence of the printer, in affixing our 
great poet's name to a comedy publicly at his own 
theatre, of which it is very improbable that he should 
have written a line, or Shakspeare's negligence of 
fame, in suffering such a piece to be imputed to him, 
without taking the least notice of it." Reasoning 
according to all common modes, one would be apt to 
admit this latter fact as conclusive of the authorship. 
It is certainly an argument, to which the mere dispari- 
ty between this performance and those which the com- 
mentators have chosen to adopt exclusively as Shak- 
peare's, will afford an insufficient obstacle. Schlegel 
says : " If we are not mistaken, Lessing pronounced 

this piece to be Shakspeare's, and wished to bring it 
on the German stage j" and Lessing was one of the 
soundest of German critics. Tieck, another German, 
also assigns this comedy to Shakspeare. Hazlitt 
says : "If Shakspeare's at all, it must be among the 
sins of his youth." Mr. Knight, while analyzing the 
plot and materiel, and comparing these with the un- 
questionable performances of Shakspeare, rejects the 
play altogether. 

Without urging a single word on this subject, we 
content ourselves with saying that its crudities are 
equally great as a work of thought and as a work of 
art. It exhibits a very immature condition of mind 
on the part of the writer. The invention, the verse, 
and the philosophy, are equally humble. It was 
probably the work of a youth — perhaps a boy — and 
that boy might have been Shakspeare. We know 
nothing more utterly absurd than this habit of test- 
ing the authorship of a work by its intrinsic merits; 
applying the standards formed in the maturer exhibi- 
tions of a great genius, to the crude and feeble per- 
formances of his beginning. But we have dwelt up- 
on these generalities already. 

The comedy is not wholly devoid of merit. The 



ingenuity of the father, in finding excuses for the 
son's profligacy, is exemplary. The very reckless- 
ness and utter profligacy of the son himself, howev- 
er faulty as a conception of character, has yet a re- 
deeming something in his desperate hardihood. It 
would seem, too, that the excessive overdrawing of 
this character was the result of a too great anxiety 
to bring out that of the weak woman, his wife ; whom 
our author probably sought to make another " Pa- 
tient Grissil." The scenes in which she appears, and 
the devotion which she shows, which finally works 
the miracle in his reformation, are not wanting in 
force and spirit. Mr. Knight says, harshly: "If 
Shakspeare had chosen such a plot, in which the 
sudden repentance of the offender was to compensate 
for the miseries he had inflicted, he would have 
made the prodigal retain some sense of honor, some 
remorse amid his recklessness — something that 
would have given the assurance that his contrition 
was not hypocrisy. We have little doubt that the 
low moral tone of the writer's own mind produced 
the low morality of the plot and its catastrophe. We 
see in this play that confusion of principles of which 

the stage was too long the faithful mirror. In Shak- 
speare, the partition which separates levity and guilt 
is never broken down ; thoughtlessness and dishonor 
are not treated with equal indulgence. This is quite 
argument enough to prove that Shakspeare could not 
have written this comedy, nor rendered the least 
assistance in its composition. If it exhibited any 
traces of his wit or his poetry, we should still reject 
it upon this sole ground." And if we argued the 
case with reference only to Shakspeare, as the mature 
master-mind of ages, rather than with regard to the 
boy who was just beginning his apprenticeship, we 
should say exactly the same thing. But this would 
be very idle. These old plays, if Shakspeare's, are 
from his "prentice han' ;" and, with all deference to 
the commentator, we are inclined to think that the 
" prentice han' " of a very superior and original ge- 
nius is much more rude and awkward, for various good 
reasons, than that of a merely talented person. But 
we profess to determine nothing in regard to the au- 
thorship of the drama before us — only to suggest, that 
the reasons which render other editors most confident, 
are, as we think, of no sort of value in this discussion. 



in love with 


Flowerdale, senior, a merchant. 
Matthew Flowerdale, his son. 
Flowerdale, junior, brother to the merchant. 
Sir Launcelot Spurcock. 
Sir Arthur Greenshield, a military 

Oliver, a Devonshire Clothier, 
Weathercock, a parasite to Sir Launcelot Spurcock. 
Civet, in love with Frances. 
A Citizen. 

. ' i servants to Sir Launcelot Spurcock. 

Dick and Ralph, two cheating gamesters. 
Ruffian, a pander. 

Delia, y 

Frances, / daughters to Sir Launcelot Spurcock. 

Luce, J 

Citizen's wife. 

Sheriff's officers ; Lieutenant and Soldiers ; Drawers 
and other Attendants. 

SCENE, — London, and the parts adjacent. 


SCENE I. — London. A room in Flowerdale, jun- 
ior's, house. 

Enter Flowerdale, senior, and Flowerdale, junior. 

Flow., sen. Brother, from Venice, being thus dis- 
I come to prove the humors of my son. 
How hath he borne himself since my departure, 
I leaving you his patron and his guide ? 

Flow.,jun. Faith, brother, so as you will grieve to 
And I almost ashamed to report it. [hear, 

Flow., sen. Why, how is't, brother? What ! doth 
he spend beyond 
The allowance that I left him ? 

Flow.,jun. How ! beyond that ! [Ay] and far more. 
Why, your exhibition's nothing. He hath spent 
that and since hath borrowed ; protested with oaths ; 
alleged kindred to wring money from me ; [entreat- 
ing] " by the love I bore his father, — by the fortunes 
[that] might fall upon himself — to furnish his wants. 
That done, I have since had his bond, his friend and 

friend's bond. Although I know, that [what] he 
spends is yours, yet it grieves me to seethe unbridled 
wildness that reigns over him. 1 

Flow., sen. Brother, what is the manner of his 
life ? 
How is the name of his offences ? If they do not 
Altogether, relish of damnation, 
His youth may privilege his wantonness. 
I myself ran an unbridled course till thirty ; nay, al- 
most till forty : well ! you see how I am ! For vice 
once looked into with the eyes of discretion, and 
well balanced with the weights of reason, the course 
past seems so abominable, that the landlord of him- 
self, which is the heart of his body, 2 will rather en- 
tomb himself in the earth, or seek a new tenant to re- 
main in him ; 3 which once settled, how much better 
are they that in their youth have known all these 
vices, and left them, than those that know little, and 
in their age run into them ? Believe me, brother, 
they that die most virtuous, have in their youth lived 
most vicious ; and none knows the danger of the fire 
more than he that falls into it. But say, how is the 
course of his life ? let's hear his particulars. 

Flow., jun. Why, I'll tell you, brother: he is a 
continual swearer, and a breaker of his oaths ; which 
is bad. 

Flow., sen. I grant, indeed, to swear is bad, but in 
not 4 keeping those oaths is better. For who will set 
by a bad thing ? Nay, by my faith, I hold this rather 
a virtue than a vice ! Well, I pray, proceed. 

Flow., jun. He's a mighty brawler, and comes com- 
monly by the worst. 

Flow., sen. By my faith, this is none of the worst 
neither ; for if he brawl and be beaten for it, it will 
in time make him shun it ; for what brings man or 
child more to virtue than correction ? What reigns 
over him else ? 

Flow., jun. He is a great drinker, and one that will 
forget himself. 

Flow., sen. Oh ! best of all .' [since] vice should be 
forgotten. Let him drink on, so he drink not [in] 
churches. Nay, an this be the worst, I hold it rather 
a happiness in him than any iniquity. Hath he any 
more attendants ? 

1 Much of this is in a clumsy sort of rhythm, and may 
have been written originally in verse. The employment of 
an occasional particle here and there, and the dropping of a 
syllable, would easily convert it into rhythm again. 

2 That is, the heart of his body is the body's landlord, or 
ruler, the master of the tenement. 

3 That is, in shame and despair, either commit suicide, or 
change his character, change his heart, and become another 
sort of man. 

* The old copies read, " not in." 



Flow., jun. Brother, he is one that will horrow of 
any man. 

Flow., sen. Why, see you, 1 so doth the sea ; it bor- 
rows of all the small currents in the world, to increase 

Floio.,jun. Ay, but the sea pays it again, and so 
will never your son. 

Flow., sen. No more would the sea neither, if it 
were dry as my son. 

Flow., jun. Then, brother, I see, 
You rather like these vices in your son, 
Than any way condemn them. 

Flow., sen. Nay, mistake me not, brother, 
For though I slur them over now as things 
[But] slight and nothing, his crimes being in the bud, 
'Twould gall my heart they ever should 2 reign in him. 

M. Flow, [knocking within]. Ho! who's within; 

Flow., jun. That's your son ; he's come 

To borrow more money. 

Flow., sen. For God's sake give it out 

[That] I am dead. See how he'll take it ! Say 
I've brought you news from his father. I have here 

A formal will, as it were from myself, 
Which I'll deliver him. 

Flow., jun. Go to, brother ; no more ; I will. 

M. Flow, [within] . Uncle ! where are you, uncle ? 

Flow., jun. [aloud]. Let my cousin 3 in there. 

Flow., sen. [hastily, and in undertones] . I am a sail- 
or come from Venice, and my name is Christopher. 

Enter Matthew Flowerdale. 

Flow. By the Lord, in truth, uncle 

Uncle. In truth would a-served, cousin, without the 

Flow. By your leave, uncle, the Lord is the Lord 
cf truth. A couple of rascals at the gate, set upon 
me for my purse. 

Uncle. You never come, but you bring a brawl in 
your mouth. 

Flow. By my truth, uncle, you must needs lend me 
ten pound. 

Uncle. Give my cousin some small beer here. 

Flow. Nay, look you, you turn it to a jest; now, by 
this light, I should ride to Croydon fair, to meet Sir 
Launcelot Spurcock ; I should have his daughter 
Luce ; and, for scurvy ten pound, a man shall lose 
nine hundred threescore and odd pounds, and a daily 
friend beside ; by this hand, uncle, 'tis true. 

Uncle. Why, anything is true for aught I know. 

Flow. To see now ! why you shall have my bond, 
uncle; or Tom White's, James Brock's, or Nick Hall's, 
as good rapier and dagger men, as any [that] be in 
England ; let's be damned if we do not pay you ; 
the worst of us all will not damn ourselves for ten 
pound. A pox of ten pound. 

Uncle. Cousin, this is not the first time I have 
believed you. 

Flow. Why, trust me now, you know not what may 
fall : If one thing were but true, I would not greatly 
care ; I should not need ten pound ; — but when a 
man can not be believed, — there's it. 

i Old copy reads " you see." 
8 Previous editions, " should ever." 

3 Nephew. Cousin formerly was used in the eense of 

Uncle. Why, what is it, cousin? 

Flow. Marry this, uncle, can you tell me if the 
Kate and Hugh 4 be come home or no ? 

Uncle. Ay, marry, is't. 
Flow. By God ! I thank you for that news. 
What, is't in the pool, can you tell? 

Uncle. It is ; what of that? 

Flow. What ? — why then I have six pieces of vel- 
vet sent me — I'll give you a piece, uncle : for thus 
said the letter, a piece of ash-color, a three piled black, 
a color de roy ; 5 a crimson, a sad green, and a purple : 
yes i'faith. 

Uncle. From whom should you receive this ? 

Flow. From whom ? Why, from my father ! — 
With commendations to you, uncle ; and thus he 
writes: " I know," saith he, "thou hast much troubled 
thy kind uncle, whom, God willing, at my return, I 
will see amply satisfied." — Amply, I remember, was 
the very word ; so God help me ! 

Uncle. Have you the letter here ? 

Flow. Yes, I have the letter here ; here is the let- 
ter : no — yes, no, let me see ! what breeches wore I 
on Saturday : let me see : o'Tuesday, my calamanco ; 
o'Wednesday, my peach color satin ; o'Thursday,my 
velure ; 6 o'Friday, my calamanco again ; o'Saturday — 
let me see, o' Saturday — for in those breeches I wore 
o'Saturday is the letter : 0, my riding breeches, un- 
cle ; those that you thought had been velvet— in those 
very breeches is the letter. 

Uncle. When should it be dated ? 

Flow. Marry, decimo tertio Septembris — no, no, 
decimo tertio Octobris ; ay, Octobris ; so it is. 

Uncle. Decimo tertio Octobris : and here I receive 
a letter that your father died in June : how say you, 
Kester ? [To Flow., senior, as Christopher. 

Father. Yes, truly, sir, your father is dead, these 
hands of mine holp to wind him. 

Flow. Dead? 

Father. Ay, sir, dead. 

Flow. 'Sblood, how should my father come dead ? 

Fath. I' faith, sir, according to the old proverb, 
The child was born, and cried. 
Became a man, fell sick, and died. 

Uncle. Nay, cousin, do not take't so heavily. 

Flow. Nay, I can not weep you extempore : marry, 
some two or three days hence, I shall weep without 
any stintance. But I hope he died in good memory. 

Fath. Very well, sir, and set down everything in 
good order ; and the Katharine and Hugh you talk of. 
I came over in ; and I saw all the bills of lading ; and 
the velvet that you talk of, there is no such aboard. 

Flow. By God ! I assure you, then, there is knavery 

Father. I'll be sworn of that: there's knavery 
abroad, although there were never a piece of velvet 
in Venice. 

Flow. I hope he died in good estate. 

Father. To the report of the world he did, and 
made his wiU, of which I am the unworthy bearer. 

Flow. His will, have you his will? 

Father. Yes, sir, and in the presence of your uncle, 
I was willed to deiiver it. [Delivers the will. 

Uncle. I hope, cousin, now God hath blessed you 
with wealth, you will not be unmiudful of me. 

4 Written in the old folio, Katern Hue. 

6 Royal-color — something between purple and crimson. 

6 Velure is velvet — French, velours. 



Flow. I'll do reason, uncle ; yet, i'faith, I take the 
denial of this ten pound very hardly. 
Uncle. Nay, I denied you not. 

Flow. By God, you denied me directly. 
Uncle. I'll be judged by this good fellow. 

Father. Not directly, sir. 

Flow. Why, he said he would lend me none, and 
that had wont to be a direct denial, if the old phrase 
hold. Well, uncle, come ; we'll fall to the legacies. 
[reads.] In the name of God, Amen. 

Item, I bequeath to my brother, Flowerdale, three 
hundred pounds, to pay such trivial debts as I owe in 

Item, To my son, Matthew Flowerdale, I bequeath 
two bale of false dice, videlicit, high men and low 
men, fulloms, stop-cater-traies, 1 and other bones of 

Flow. 'Sblood, what doth he mean by this ? 

Uncle. Proceed, cousin. 

Flow, [reads] . These precepts I leave him ; — let 
him borrow of his oath — for of his word nobody will 
trust him. Let him by no means marry an honest 
woman ; — for the other will keep herself. Let him 
steal as much as he can ; that a guilty conscience may 
bring him to his destinate repentance. — I think he 
means hanging ! An this were his last will and tes- 
tament, the devil stood laughing at his bed's feet 
while he made it. 'Sblood, what doth he think to fob 
off his posterity with paradoxes. 

Fath. This he made, sir, with his own hands. 

Flow. Ay, well ; nay come, good uncle, let me have 
this ten pound ; imagine you have lost it ; or were 
robbed of it ; or misreckoned yourself so much : any 
way, to make it come easily off, good uncle. 

Uncle. Not a penny. 

Fath. I'faith, lend it him, sir ; — I myself have an 
estate in the city worth twenty pound ; all that I'll 
engage for him ; — he saith it concerns him in a mar- 

Flow. Ay, marry doth it ; this is a fellow of some 
sense, this: come, good uncle. 

Uncle. Will you give your word for it, Kester? 

Fath. I will, sir, willingly. 

Uncle. Well, cousin, come to me some hour hence, 
— you shall have it ready. 

Flow. Shall I not fail ? 

Uncle. You shall not ; come or send. 

Flow. Nay, I'll come myself. 

Fath. By my troth, would I were your worship's 

Flow. What ? wouldst thou serve ? 

Fath. Very willingly, sir. 

Flow. Well, I'll tell thee what thou shalt do ; — thou 
say'st thou hast twenty pound ; — go into Burchin 
lane, and put thyself into clothes ; — thou shalt ride 
with me to Croyden fair. 

Fath. I thank you, sir ; I will attend you. 
* Flow. Well, uncle, you will not fail me an hour 

Uncle. I will not, cousin. 

Flow. What's thy name ? Kester ? 

Fath. Ay, sir. 

Flow. Well, provide thyself: uncle, farewell till 
anon. [Exit Flowerdale. 

Uncle. Brother, how do you like your son ? 

1 Quatre-trois. 

Fath. I'faith, brother, as a mad, unbridled colt, 
Or as a hawk, that never stooped to lure : 
The one must be tamed with an iron bit, 
The other must be watched, or still she's wild. 2 
Such is my son, a while let him be so ; 
For counsel still is folly's deadly foe. 
I'll serve his youth, for youth must have his course, 
For being restrained, it makes him ten times worse : 
His pride, his riot, all that may be named, 
Time may recall, and all his madness tamed. 

Enter Sir Launcelot, Master Weathercock, Daf- 
fodil, Artichoke, Luce, and Frances. 

Launce. Sirrah, Artichoke, get you home before ; 
And, as you proved yourself a calf in buying, 
Drive home your fellow calves that you have bought. 

Art. Yes, forsooth ; shall not my fellow Daffodil 
go along with me ? 

Launce No, sir, no ; I must have one to wait on me. 

Art. Daffodil, farewell, good fellow Daffodil. 
You may see, mistress, I'm set up by the halves, 
Instead of waiting on you, I'm sent to drive home 

Launce. 'Faith, Frank, I must turn away this Daffo- 
He's grown a very foolish, saucy fellow. [dil ; 

Frances. Indeed ! la ! father, he was so since I had 
Before, he was wise enough for a foolish 3 serving-man. 

Weath. But what say you to me, Sir Launcelot ? 

Launce. Oh ! — 

About my daughters ; well, I will go forward ; 
Here's two of them, God save them : but the third, 
O, she's a stranger in her course of life : 
She hath refused you, Master Weathercock. 

Weath. Ay, by the rood, Sir Launcelot, that she 
hath ; 
But had she tried me, she'd have found a man 
Of me, indeed. 

Launce. Nay, be not angry, sir, at her denial, 
She hath refused seven of the worshipful'st 
And worthiest housekeepers this day in Kent ; 
Indeed, she will not marry, I suppose. 

Weath. The more fool she ! 

Launce. What ! is it folly to love charily ? 4 

Weath. No, mistake me not, Sir Launcelot ; but 
'Tis an old proverb, and you know it well, 
That women dying maids, lead apes in hell. 

Launce. That is a foolish proverb and a false. 

Weath. B'the mass, I think't be, and therefore let it 

go : [ces ? 

But who shall marry [then] with Mistress Fran- 

Frances. By my troth, they are talking of marrying 
me, sister. 

Luce. Peace, let them talk : 
Fools may have leave to prattle as they walk. 

Daff. Sententious 5 still, sweet mistress, 
You have a wit, an 'twere your alabaster. 6 

2 Or as a hawk, — 

— must be watched or still she's wild. See the Taming 
of a Shrew, last ed., vol. iii., p. 486. Steevens. 

3 Quere? "fool's?" 

4 One of the editions before me reads " charity," another 
" chastity ;" I should prefer " charily," that is, cautiously. 

fi One of the copies before me reads " sentesses," another 
" sentences." — " Sententious" renders the line at once more 
significant and musical. 

6 The meaning is obscure. '-You have a wit, if it were 
your alabaster !" that is, fair as alabaster, and as brittle. 
Something of this sort was probably intended. Hence the 
rebuke which follows. 



Luce. Faith, and thy tongue trips trench-more. 1 

Launce. No, of my knighthood, not a suitor yet : 
Alas ! God help her, silly girl, a fool, a very fool : 
But there's the other black brows, a shrewd girl, 
Sh'ath wit at will, and suitors two or three : 
Sir Arthur Greenshield one, a gallant knight, 
A valiant soldier, but his power but poor. 
Then there's young Oliver, the Devonshire lad, 
A wary fellow, marry, full of wit, 
And rich, by the rood ; but there's a third, all air, 
Light as a feather, changing as the wind ; 
Young Flowerdale. 

Weath. O, he, sir, he is 

A desperate Dick indeed. Bar him your house. 

Launce. Fie, sir, not so ; he's of good parentage. 

Weath. By my say and so he is, a proper man. 

Launce. Ay, proper enough, had he good qualities. 

Weath. Ay, marry, there's the point, Sir Launcelot : 
For there's an old saying : — 

Be he rich, or be he poor, 

Be he high, or be he low : 

Be he born in barn or hall, 

'Tis manners make the man and all. 

Launce. You are in the right, [good] Master Weath- 

Enter Monsieur Civet. 

Civet. Soul ! I think I am sure crossed, or witched 
with an owl ! I have hunted them, inn after inn, booth 
after booth, yet can not find them ; ha, yonder they 
are; that's she ; I hope to God 'tis she ; nay, I know 
'tis she now, for she treads her shoe a little awry. 

Launce. Where is this inn ? we are past it, Daffo- 

Daff. The good sign is here, sir, but the black gate 
is before. 

Civet. Save you, sir. I pray, may 1 borrow a piece 
of a word with you ? 

Daff. No pieces, sir. 

Civet. Why, then, the whole. 
I pray, sir, what may yonder gentlewomen be ? 

Daff. They may be ladies, sir, if the destinies and 
mortality work. 

Civet. What's her name, sir ? 

Daff. Mistress Frances Spurcock, Sir Launcelot 
Spurcock's daughter. 

Civet. Is she a maid, sir? 

Daff. You may ask Pluto, and Dame Proserpine 
that : I would be loath to be riddled, sir. 

Civet. Is she married, I mean, sir? 

Daff. The fates know not yet what shoemaker shall 
make her wedding-shoes. 

Civet. I pray where inn you, sir? I would be very 
glad to bestow the wine of 2 that gentlewoman. 

Daff. At the George, sir. 

Civet. God save you, sir. 

Daff. I pray your name, sir ? 

Civet. My name is Master Civet, sir. 

Daff. A sweet name; God be with you, good Mas- 
ter Civet. [Exit Civet. 

Launce. Ha ! we have spied you, stout St. George ? 
For all 
Your dragon, y'had best sell us good wine 

1 Trench-more was a boisterous sort of dance to a lively 
tune, in triple time. 

2 Quere : Upon t 

That needs no ivy-bush. We'll not sit by it, 
As you do on your horse. This room shall serve. 
Drawer. . . . 

Enter Drawer. 

Let me have sack for us old men ; 
For these [young] girls and knaves, small wines are 
A pint of sack, — no more ! [best. 

Drawer. A quart of sack in the Three Tuns. 

Launce. A pint ! Draw but a pint. Daffodil 
Call [you] for wine to make yourselves 3 drink. 

Enter young Flowerdale. 

M. Flow. How now ! Fie ! sit ye in the open room ! 
Now, good Sir Launcelot, and my kind friend 
Worshipful Master Weathercock ; what at? — 
Your pint ! — a quart, for shame ! 

Launce. Nay, roysterer, by your leave, we will 

M. Flow. Come, give us some music [first]; we will 
go dance ; 
Be gone, Sir Launcelot ! what ! and fair day too. 

Luce* 'Twere foully done to dance within the fair. 

M. Flow. Nay, if you say so, fairest of all fairs 
Then I'll not dance ! A pox upon my tailor, 
He hath spoiled me a peach-color satin suit, 
Cut upon cloth of silver ; 5 but, if ever 
The rascal serve me such another trick, 
I'll give him leave, i'faith, to put me in 
The calendar of fools ; and you, Sir Launcelot, 
You, Master Weathercock, my goldsmith ton, 
On t'other side [of you]. I bespoke thee, Luce, 
A carcanet of gold, 6 and thought thou shouldst 
Have had it for the fairing. And [yet] the rogue 
Puts me in 'rearages for orient pearl ; — 
But thou shalt have't by Sunday night, wench. — 

Enter Drawer. 

Drawer. Sir, here is one that hath sent you a bottle 
of Rhenish wine, brewed with rose water. 7 

Flow. To me ? 

Drawer. No, sir, to the knight ; 

And desires his more acquaintance. 

Launce. To me ? 

What's he that proves so kind ? 

Daff. I have a trick 

To know his name, sir ; he hath a month's mind, here, 
To Mistress Frances ; his name's Master Civet. 

3 Quere : your fellows ? 

4 This line in two of the copies before me, is ascribed to 
Sir Launcelot, but it evidently belongs to one of the damsels, 
Luce or Frances. I think it due to the former. 

o " Cut upon cloth of silver" — that is, with cloth of silver 
placed under all the cuts, openings, or slashes, in it. " Cloth 
of gold and cuts," is mentioned in "Much Ado about Noth- 
ing," last ed., vol. ii., p. 322. — Steevens. 

6 A carcanet was an ornament for the neck formerly 
worn. — Malone. See note on the " Comedy of Errors," last 
ed., vol. ii., p. 192. — Steevens. 

i It was anciently a custom at taverns to send flagons of 
wine from one room to another, either as a token of friend- 
ship or by way of proposal to form an acquaintance. An 
amusing anecdote of Ben Jonson and the witty Bishop Cor- 
bet, has been preserved by which this custom may happily 
be illustrated. Hearing that Corbet was in the next room, 
Jonson calls for a quart of raw wine and sends it by the 
tapster, saying : " Sirrah, take this to the gentleman in the 
next chamber, with my love, and tell him I sacrifice my ser- 
vice to him." — " Friend," says Corbet, " tell the gentleman I 
thank him for his love ; but tell him from me, that he is mis- 
taken in his learning, for that such sacrifices are burnt offer- 
ings always. 



Launce. Call him in, Daffodil. 

Flow. 0, I know him, sir ; 

He is a fool, but reasonable rich ; 
His father's one of these leasemongers, these 
Cornmongers, moneymongers, but he never had 
The wit to be a whoremonger. 

Enter Master Civet. 

Launce. I promise you, sir, 

You are at too much charge. [To Civet. 

Civet. The charge is small, sir ! I thank God, 
My father left me wherewithal. If t please you 
I've a great mind to this gentlewoman here 
I' the way of marriage. 

Launce. I thank you, sir ; — 

Please you to come to Lewsham, my poor house ; 
You shall be kindly welcome. I knew your father. 
He was a wary husband. To pay here, drawer ? 

Drawer. All's paid, sir ; this gentleman hath paid 

Launce. I'faith, you do us wrong ; 
But we shall live to make amends ere long. 
Master Flowerdale, — is that your man ? 

M. Flow. Yes, faith ; a good old knave. 

Launce. Nay, then, I think, 

You will turn wise, now you take such a servant. 
Come : you'll ride with's to Lewsham ? Let's away, 
'Tis scarce two hours to the end of day. [Exeunt. 


SCENE I. — A Road in Kent, near the house of Sir 
Launcelot Spurcock. 

Enter Sir Arthur Greenshield, Oliver. Lieuten- 
ant, Soldiers, and Recruits. 

Arth. Lieutenant, lead your soldiers to the ships, 
There let them have their coats ; at their arrival 
They shall have pay : farewell ; look to your charge. 

Sol. Ay ; we are now sent away, and can not so 
much as speak with our friends. 

OIL No man what e'er you used a zutch a fashion, 
thick you can not take your leave of your vreens. 

Arth. Fellow, no more ; lieutenant, lead them off. 

Sol. Well, if I have not my pay and my clothes, 
I'll venture a running away, though I hang for't. 

Arth. Away, sirrah, charm your tongue. 1 

[Exeunt Soldiers. 

Oli. Be you a presser, sir ? 

Arth. I am a commander, sir. under the king. 

Oli. Sfoot, man. an you be never such a commander, 
I shud a-spoke with my vreens before I shud a-gone ; 
so I shud. 

Arth. Content yourself, man ; my authority 
Will stretch to press so good a man as you. 

Oli. Press me ? I defy ye, press scoundrels, and 
thy messels 2 : press me, chee scorns thee, i'faith : for, 
seest thee, here's a worshipful knight [who] knows, 
cham not to be pressed by thee. 

1 So in King Henry — "Charm thy riotous tongue" — in 
Othello, " Go to ; charm your tongue." The phrase was com- 
mon to the old dramatists. 

2 Messel is a leper, but the sense here is, messmates — as- 
sociates — parties to thy mess. 

Enter Sir Launcelot, Weathercock, young Flow- 
erdale, old Flowerdale, Luce, and Frances. 

Launce. Sir Arthur, welcome to Lewsham, wel- 
come, by my troth. What's the matter, man, [to Oli- 
ver] why are you vexed ? 

Oli. Why, man, he would press me. 

Launce. O, fie, Sir Arthur, press him ? 
He is a man of reckoning. 

Weath. That he is, Sir Arthur, hath the nobles, 
The golden ruddocks 3 he. 

Arth. The fitter for the wars : and were he not 
In favor with your worships, he should see 
That I have power to press so good as he. 

Oli. Chill stand to the trial, so chill. 

Flow. Ay, marry shall he j press cloth and kar- 
sy, 4 

White-pot and drowsen broth : 4 tut, tut, he can not. 

Oli. Well, sir, though you see [he] vlouten cloth 
and karsy, chee a zeen zutch a karsy coat wear out 
the town sick a zilken jacket, as thick as one you 

Flow. Well-fed vlittan vlattan 5 

Oli. Ay, and well-fed cockney, and bot-bell too : 6 
what doest think cham aveard of thy zilken coat? no 
vear vor thee. 

Launce. Nay, come j no more ; be all lovers and 

Weath. Ay, 'tis best so, good Master Oliver. 

Flow. Is your name Master Oliver, I pray you '( 

Oli. What tit and be tit, an it grieve you. 

Flow. No, but I'd gladly know if a man might not 
have a foolish plot out of Master Oliver to work upon. 

Oli. Work thy plots upon me ; stand aside ; work 
thy foolish plots upon me ; chill so use thee, thou 
wert never so used since thy dam bound thy head : — 
work upon me ? 

Flow. Let him come, let him come. 

Oli. Zirrah, zirrah, if it were not for shame, chee 
would a given thee zutch a whister-poop under the 
ear, chee would have made thee a vanged another at 
my feet. Stand aside, let me loose ; cham all of a 
vlaming firebrand ; stand aside. 

Flow. Well, I forbear you for your friends' sake. 

Oli. A vig for all my vreens ; dost thou tell me of 
my vreens ? 

Launce. No more, good Master Oliver ; no more, 
Sir Arthur. And maiden, here, in the sight 
Of all your suitors, every man of worth, 
I'll tell you whom I fainest would prefer 
To the hard bargain of your marriage-bed. 
Shall I be plain among you, gentlemen ? 

Arth. Ay, sir, 'tis best. 

Launce. Then, sir, first to you, 

I do confess you a most gallant knight, 
A worthy soldier, and an honest man ; 
But honesty maintains not a French-hood ; 
Goes very seldom in a chain of gold ; 
Keeps a small train of servants ; hath few friends. 
And, for this wild oats here, young Flowerdale, 

3 The golden ruddoch is the red-breast. A cant name for 
gold pieces. 

■* '• Cloth and kersey," Devonshire manufactures ; white 
pot, a favorite dish in Devonshire ; drowsen broth, a common 
drink for servants — herbs boiled up in the grounds of beer. 

s Flowerdale ridicules the man of Kent for his pronunci- 
ation of the/ as v. 

6 He retorts upon the Londoner. 



I will not judge ; God can work miracles, 
But he were better make a hundred new, 
Than thee a thrifty and an honest one. 

Weath. Believe me, he hath hit you there ; he hath 
touched you to the quick, that he hath. 

Flow. Woodcock o' my side ; 
Why, Master Weathercock, 
You know I am honest, howsoever trifles 

Weath. Now, by my troth, I know no otherwise. — 
Oh ! your old mother was a dame indeed : 
Heaven hath her soul, and my wife's too, I trust : 
And your good father, honest gentleman, 
He's gone a journey as I hear, far hence. 

Flow. Ay, God be praised, he is far enough ; 
He's gone a pilgrimage to Paradise, 
And left me to cut capers against care ; 
Luce, look on me, that am as light as air. 

Luce. I'faith, I like not shadows, bubbles, breath, 
I hate a " light o' love," as I hate death. 

Launce. Girl, hold thee there : look on this De'n- 
shire lad : 
Fat, fair, and lovely, both in purse and person. 

Oli. Well, sir, cham as the Lord hath made me, 
you know me well ivin, cha have threescore pack of 
karsay at Blackem Hall, 1 and chief credit beside, and 
my fortunes may be so good as another's, zo it may. 

Luce. 'Tis you I love, whatever others say. 

Arth. Thanks, fairest. 

Flow. What, wouldst thou have me quarrel with 
him ? 

Fath. Do but say he shall hear from you. 

Launce. Yet, gentlemen, hows'ever I prefer 
This De'nshire suitor, I'll enforce no love ; 
My daughter shall have liberty to choose 
Whom she likes best : in your lovesuits proceed ; 
Not all of you, but only one, must speed. 

Weath. You have said well : indeed, right well. 

Enter Artichoke. 

Arti. Mistress, here's one would speak with you ; 
my fellow Daffodil hath him in the cellar already ; 
he knows him ; he met him at Croydon fair. 

Launce. Oh, I remember ; a little man. 

Arti. Ay, a very little man. 

Launce. And yet a proper man. 

Arti. A very proper, very little man. 

Launce. His name is Monsieur Civet. 

Arti. The same, sir. 

Launce. Come, gentlemen, if other suitors come, 
My foolish daughter will be fitted too : 
But my saint Delia, no man dare to move. 

[Exeunt all but young Flowerdale and 
Oliver, and old Flowerdale. 

Flow. Hark you, sir, a word. 

Oli. What han you say to me now ? 

Flow. Ye shall hear from me, and that very shortly. 

Oli. Is that all ? vare thee well : chee vere thee 
not a vig. [Exit Oliver. 

Flow. What if he should come now I' 2 I am fairly 

Fath. I do not mean that you shall meet with him, 
But presently we'll go and draw a will : 
Where we will set down land we never saw, 
And we will have it of so large a sum, 
Sir Launcelot shall entreat you take his daughter : 

i Blackwell Hall, the great repository of woollen goods in 
2 Previous editions read, " come more '(" 

This being framed, give it to Master Weathercock, 
And make Sir Launcelot's daughter heir of all : 
And make him swear never to show the will 
To any one, until that you be dead. 
This done, the foolish changeling Weathercock, 
Will straight discourse unto Sir Launcelot, 
The form and tenor of your testament. 
Ne'er stand to pause of it, be ruled by me : 
What will ensue, that you shall quickly see. 
Flow. Come, let's about it ; if that a will, sweet 
Can get the wench, I shall renown thy wit. 


SCENE II. — A Room in Sir Launcelot's House. 

Enter Daffodil and Luce. 

Daff. Mistress ! still froward ? No kind looks unto 
Your Daffodil, now, by the gods 

Luce. Away, you foolish knave, let go my hand. — 

Daff. There is your band, but this shall go with 

My heart is thine, this is my true love's fee. [me : 

[ Takes off her bracelet. 

Luce. I'll have your coat stripped o'er your ears 
You saucy rascal. [for this, 

Enter Sir Launcelot and Weathercock. 

Launce. How now, maid, what is the news with 

Luce. Your man is something saucy. [Exit Luce. 
Launce. Go to, sirrah ; I'll talk with you, anon. 
Daff. Sir, I'm a man to be talked with withal ; 
I am no horse, I trow : 
I know my strength then, no more than so. 

Weath. Ay, by the mannikins, 3 good Sir Launcelot, 
I saw him t'other day hoid up the bucklers, 
Like an Hercules ; faith, God-a-mercy, lad, I like 
thee well. 
Launce. I like him well ; go, sirrah, fetch me a cup 
of wine, 
That, ere I part with Master Weathercock, 
We may drink down our farewell in French wine. 

[Exit Daffodil. 
Weath. I thank you, sir, I thank you, friendly 
knight ; 
I'll come and visit you ; by the mouse-foot I will ;« 
Meantime, take heed of cutting Flowerdale ; 
He is a desperate Dick, I warrant you. 

Re-enter Daffodil, with wine. 

Launce. He is, he is ! Fill, Daffodil, some wine, 
Ha .' what wears he on his arm ? Fill me ! — 
My daughter Luce's bracelet ? 'tis the same : 
Ha' to you, Master Weathercock. 

Weath. I thank you, sir: here, Daffodil, an honest 
fellow and a tall thou art : Well : I'll take my leave, 
good knight, and I hope to have you and all your 
daughters at my poor house ; in good sooth I must. 

Launce. Thanks, Master Weathercock, 
I shall be bold to trouble you, be sure. 

Weath. And welcome, heartily ; — farewell. 

[Exit Weath. 

3 In previous copies " matkins" or " makins." 

* A petty oath that seems to have been in frequent use. 

Thus, in Colman and Perseda (1549). "By cock and pie, 

and mouse-foot." — Steevens. 



Launce. Sirrah, I saw my daughter's wrong, 5 and 
[see] withal, 
Her bracelet on your arm. Off with it [sirrah], 
And with it my living too. Have I a care 
To see my daughter matched with men of worship, 
And are you grown so bold ? Go from my house 
Or I will whip you hence. 

Daff. I'll not be whipped, sir : there's your living ! 
This is a servingman's reward. What care I ? 
I've means to trust to ; I scorn service ; ay ! 

[Exit Daffodil. 

Launce. A lusty knave, but I must let him go. 
Our servants must be taught what they should know. 

SCENE III. — Another Room in the same. 
Enter Sir Arthur and Luce. 

Luce. Sir, as I am a maid, I do affect 
You above any suitor that I have, 
Although that soldiers scarce know how to love. 

Arth. I am a soldier, and a gentleman, 
Know what belongs to war, what to a lady : 
What man offends me, that my sword shall right : 
What woman loves me, I'm her faithful knight. 

Luce. I neither doubt your valor nor your love, 
But there be some that bear a soldier's form, 
That swear by him they never think upon, 
Go swaggering up and down from house to house, 
Crying, " God pays all ;" and 

Arth. Faith, lady, I'll describe you such a man ; 
Of them there be many which you've spoke of, 
That bear the name and shape [alone] of soldiers, 
Yet, God knows, very seldom saw the war: 
That haunt your taverns and your ordinaries, 
Your alehouses sometimes, for all alike 
To uphold the brutish humor of their minds, 
Being marked down, for the bondmen of despair : 
Their mirth begins in wine, but ends in blood, 
Their drink is clear, but their conceits are mud. 

Luce. Yet these [they tell us] are great gentlemen ; 

Arth. No soldiers; — they are wretched slaves, 
[my Luce], 
Whose desperate lives doth bring them timeless 

Luce. Both for yourself, and for your form of life, 
If I may choose, I'll be a soldier's wife. [Exeunt. 


Enter Sir Launcelot and Oliver. 

Oli. And tyt trust to it, so then. 

Launce. Assure yourself, 

You shall be married with all speed we may : 
One day shall serve for Frances and for Luce. 

Oli. Why che would vain know the time, for pro- 
viding wedding raiments. 

Launce. Why no more but this ; first get your as- 
surance made, 
Touching my daughter's jointure ; that despatched, 
We will, in two days, make provision. 

Oli. Why, man, chilhave the writings made by to- 

Launce. To-morrow be it then ; let's meet at the 
King's Head in Fish street. 

Oli. No, fie man, no ; let's meet at the Rose at 

1 " Wrath," perhaps. 

Temple Bar ; that will be nearer your counsellor and 

Launce. At the Rose be it then, the hour be nine, 
He that comes last forfeits a pint of wine. 

Oli. A pint is no payment, 
Let it be a whole quart, or nothing. 

Enter Artichoke. 

Aiii. Master, here is a man would speak with 
Master Oliver ; he comes from young Master Flower- 

Oli. Why chil speak with him, chil speak with him. 

iMunce. Nay, [good] son Oliver, I'll surely see 
What ['tis] young Flowerdale hath sent to you. 
Pray God it be no quarrel. 

Oli. Why, man, if he quarrel with me, chil give him 
his hands full. 

Enter Flowerdale, senior. 

Fath. God save you, good Sir Launcelot. 

Launce. Welcome, honest friend. 

Fath. To you and yours my master wisheth health, 
But unto you, sir, this, and this, he sends : 
There is the length, sir, of his rapier ; 
And in that paper shall you know his mind. 

Oli. Here, chil meet him, my friend, chil meet him. 

Launce. Meet him ? you shall not meet the ruf- 
fian, fie ! 

Oli. An I do not meet him, chil give you leave to 
Me Cut. Where is't, sirrah ? where is't ? where is't ? 

Fath. The letter showeth both the time and place, 
And, if you be a man, then keep your word. 

Launce. Sir, he shall not keep his word, he shall 
not meet. 

Fath. Why let him choose ; he'll be the better 
For a base rascal, and reputed so. [known 

Oli. Zirrah, zirrah : and 'twere not an old fellow, 
and sent after an errand, chid give thee something, 
but chud be no money : But hold thee, for I see thou 
art somewhat testern ; hold thee ; there's vorty shil- 
lings ; bring thy master a veeld, chil give thee vorty 
more ; look thou bring him, chil maul him, tell him ; 
chil mar his dancing tressels ; chil use him, he was 
ne'er so used since his dam bound his head ; chil mar 
him for capering any more, chy vore thee. 

Fath. You seem a man, sir, slout and resolute, 
And I will so report, whate'er befall. 

Launce. An it fall out ill, assure thy master this, 
I'll make him fly the land, or use him worse. 

Fath. My master, sir, deserves not this of you, 
And that you'll shortly find. 

Launce. Thy master is an unthrift, you a knave, 
And I'll attach you first, next clap him up ; 
Or have him bound unto his good behavior. 

Oli. I wood you were a sprite if you do him any 
harm for this : an you do ! chil ne'er see you, nor any 
of yours, while chil have eyes open : what, do you 
think, chil be abasselled up and down the town for a 
messel, 1 and a scoundrel? no chy vore you: zirrah. 
chil come ; zay no more ; chil come ; tell him I defy 

Fath. Well, sir. [Exit. 

Launce. Now, gentle son, let me know the place. 

Oli. No, chy vore you. 

l Messel, a leper. He probably means to say that he 
would be evaded, as if leprous, for his cowardice. 



Zaunce. Let me [but] see the note. 

Oli. Nay, chil watch you for zutch a trick. 
But if chee meet him, zo ; if not, zo ; chil make him 
know me, or chil know why I shall not; chilvare the 

Launce. What ! will you then neglect my daugh- 
ter's love ? 
Venture your state and hers, for a loose brawl? 

Oli. Why, man, chil not kill him, marry chil veze 1 
him too. and again ; and zo, God be with you, vather. 
What, man, we shall meet to-morrow. [Exit. 

Launce. Who would have thought he had been so 
desperate ? 
Come forth, my honest servant, Artichoke. 

Enter Artichoke. 

Arti. Now, what's the matter ? some brawl toward, 
I warrant you. 

Launce. Go get me thy sword bright scoured, thy 
buckler mended ; 
Oh ! for that knave, that villain Daffodil : 
He would have done good service. But to thee. 

Arti. Ay, this is the tricks of all you gentlemen, 
when you stand in need of a good fellow. O for that 
Daffodil, 0, where is he ? but if you be angry, and it 
be but for the wagging of a straw, then out o' doors 
with the knave ; turn the coat over his ears. This is 
the humor of you all. 

Launce. Oh ! for that knave, that lusty Daffodil. 

Arti. Why there 'tis, now : our year's wages and 
our vails will scarce pay for broken swords and buck- 
lers that we use in our quarrels. But I'll not fight if 
Daffodil be o' 't other side ; — that's flat. 

Launce. 'Tis no such matter, man, get weapons 
And be at London ere the break of day : [ready, 

Watch near the lodging of the De'nshire youth, 
But be unseen : and as he goeth out, 
As he will go, and early, without doubt — 

Arti. What, would you have me draw upon him, 
As he goes in the street ? 

Launce. Not for a world, man ; 

Into the fields. For to the field he goes, 
There to meet the desperate Flowerdale : 
Take thou the part of Oliver my son, 
For he shall be my son, and marry Luce : 
Do'st understand me, knave ? 

Arti. Ay, sir. I do understand you, but my young 
mistress might be better provided in matching with 
my fellow Daffodil. 

Launce. No more ; [thy fellow] Daffodil's a knave, 
A most notorious knave. [Exit Artichoke. 

Enter Weathercock. 

Master Weathercock, you come in happy time ; 
The desperate Flowerdale hath writ a challenge : 
And who think you must answer it but [he], 
The Devonshire man, my son Oliver? 

Weath. Marry, I'm sorry for it, good Sir Launcelot, 
But if you'll be ruled by me, we'll stay their fury. 

Launce. As how, I pray ? 

Weath. Marry, I'll tell you, by promising young 
Flowerdale the red-lipped Luce. 

iMunce. I'll rather follow her unto her grave. 

1 Pheeze or feaze him. To take the twist asunder. So 
in the " Taming of the Shrew" — 

" I'll pheeze you, i'faith." 

Weath. Ay, Sir Launcelot, I would have thought so 
But you and I have been deceived in him. [too, 

Come read this will, or deed, or what you call it, 
I know not : come, your spectacles, I pray. 

Launce. Nay, I thank God, I see [it] very well. 

Weath. Marry, God bless your eyes, mine have 
Almost this thirty years. [been dim 

Launce. Ha, what is this ? what is this ? \Reads.] 

Weath. Nay, there is true love indeed ; 
He gave it to me but this very morn, 
And bade me keep't unseen from any one, 
Good youth, to see how men may be deceived. 

Launce. Passion of me ! What a wretch am I 
To hate this loving youth ! — 
He hath made me, together with my Luce, 
He loves so dear, executors of all 
His wealth. 

Weath. All, all, good man, he hath given you all. 

Launce. Three ships, now in the straits, and home- 
ward bound, 
Two lordships of two hundred pound a year : 
The one in Wales, th' other in Glostershire : 
Debts and accounts are thirty thousand pound, 
Plate, money, jewels, sixteen thousand more, 
Two houses furnished well in Coleman street : 
Besides whate'er his uncle leaves to him, 
Being of great domains and wealth at Peckham. 

Weath. How like you this, good knight ? How like 
you this ? 

Launce. I have done him wrong ; but now I'll make 
The De'nshire man shall whistle for a wife ; 
He marry Luce ! Luce shall be Flowerdale's. 

Weath. Why that is friendly said, let's ride to Lon- 
And straight prevent their match, by promising [don / 
Your daughter to that lovely [loving] lad. 

Launce. We'll ride to London: — or, it shall not 
need ; 
We'll cross to Deptford strand, and take a boat. 
Where be these knaves ? what, Artichoke ; what, fop ! 

Enter Artichoke. 

Arti. Here be the very knaves, but not the merry 

Launce. Here, take my cloak : I'll have a walk to 

Arti. Sir, we have been scouring of our swords and 
bucklers for your defence. 

Launce. Defence me no defence : let your swords 
I'll have no fighting. Ay, let blows alone ! [rust ; 
Bid Delia see all things in readiness 
Against the wedding. We'll have two at once ; 
That will save charges, Master Weathercock. 

Arti. We'll do it, sir. [Exeunt. 


SCENE I.— A walk before the House o/Sir Launcelot. 

Enter Civet, Frances, and Delia. 

Civ. By my troth this is good luck ; I thank God 
for this. In good sooth I have even my heart's de- 
sire : sister Delia, — now I may boldly call you so, 
for your father hath frank and freely given me his 
daughter Frank. 



Frances. Ay, by my troth, Tom ; thou hast my 
good will too, for, I thank God, I longed for a hus- 
band, and would I might never stir, for one whose 
name was Tom. 

Del. Why, sister, now you have your wish. 

Civ. You say very true, sister Delia, and I pr'ythee 
call me nothing but Tom : and I'll call thee sweet- 
heart, and Frank : will it not do well, sister Delia ? 

Del. It will do very well with both of you. 

Frances. But Tom, must I go as I do now when I 
am married ? 

Civ. No, Frank, I'll have thee go like a citizen 
In a guarded gown, and a French hood. 1 

Frances. By my troth, that will be excellent indeed. 

Del. Brother, maintain your wife to your estate, 
Apparel you yourself like to your father : 
And let her go like to your ancient mother. 
He, sparing, got his wealth, left it to you. 
Brother, take heed, for pride bids thrift adieu. 

Civ. So as my father and my mother went ! — 
That's a jest indeed ; why, she went in 
A fringed gown, a single ruff, and white cap. 
And my father in a mocado 2 coat, 
A pair of red satin sleeves, and a canvass back. 

Del. And yet his wealth was full as much as yours. 

Civ. My estate, my estate, I thank God, is forty 
pound a year, in good leases and tenements ; besides 
twenty mark a year at Cuckolds'-Haven ; and that 
comes to us all by inheritance. 

Del. That may indeed, 'tis very fitly 'plied. 
I know not how it comes, but so't falls out 
That those whose fathers have died wondrous rich, 
And took no pleasure but to gather wealth, 
Thinking of little [but] that they leave behind 
For them, they hope, will be of their like mind. — 
But it falls out contrary ; forty years sparing, 
Is scarce three seven years spending ; never caring 
What wiJl ensue. When all their coin is gone, 
And all too late, then thrift is thought upon : 
Oft have I heard, that pride and riot kist, 
And then repentance cries — For had I wist. 

Civ. You say well, sister Delia, you say well : but 
I mean to live within my bounds : for, look you, I 
have set down my rest thus far, but to maintain my 
wife in her French hood, and her coach, keep a cou- 
ple of geldings, and a brace of greyhounds ; and this 
is all I'll do. 

Del. And you'll do this with forty pound a year? 

Civ. Ay, and a better penny, sister. 

Frances. Sister, you forget that at [the] Cuckold's- 

Civ. By my troth well remembered, Frank, 
I'll give thee that to buy thee pins. 

Del. Keep you the rest for points. Alas the day ! 
Fools shall have wealth, though all the world say nay : 
Come, brother, will you in? dinner stays for us. 

Civ. Ay, good sister, with all my heart. 

Frances. Ay, by my troth, Tom, for I have a good 

Civ. And I the like, sweet Frank ; no, sister, do not 
I'll go beyond my bounds. [think 

Del. God grant you may not. [Exeunt. 

1 Guards or facings. So in Henry IV. we have " velvet 
guards and Sunday citizens." 

2 A woollen 6tuff in imitation of velvet. Mock velvet. It 
is frequently mentioned in the old plays. So in the " Dev- 
il's Charter," 1607—" Varlet of velvet, old heart of durance, 
moccado villain !" 

S CENE II . — London . The Street before young Flow- 

erdale's House. 

Enter young Flowerdale and his Father, with foils 

in their hands. 

Flow. Sirrah, Kit, tarry thou there ; I have spied 
Sir Launcelot and old Weathercock coming this way ; 
they are hard at hand ; I will by no means be spoken 

Fath. I'll warrant you ; go, get you in. 

Enter Sir Launcelot and Weathercock. 

Launce. Now, my honest friend, thou dost belong 
to Master Flowerdale ? 

Fath. I do, sir. 

Launce. Is he within, my good fellow ? 

Fath. No, sir, he is not within. 

Launce. I pr'ythee if he be within, let me speak 
with him. 

Fath. Sir, to tell you true, my master is within, but 
indeed would not be spoke withal: there be some 
terms that stand upon his reputation, therefore he 
will not admit any conference till he hath shook them 

Launce. I pr'ythee tell him his very good friend 
Sir Launcelot Spurcock entreats to speak with him. 

Fath. By my troth, sir, if you come to take up the 
matter between my master and the Devonshire man, 
you do but beguile your hopes, and lose your labor. 

Launce. Honest friend, I have not any such thing to 
him ; I come to speak with him about other matters. 

Fath. For my master, sir, hath set down his reso- 
lution, either to redeem his honor, or leave his life 
behind him. 

Launce. My friend, I do not know any quarrel 
touching thy master or any other person ; my busi- 
ness is of a different nature to him, and I pr'ythee so 
tell him. 

Fath. For howsoever the Devonshire man is, 
My master's mind is bloody : that's a round O, 3 
And therefore, sir, entreaties are but vain. 

Launce. I have no such thing to him, I tell thee 
once again. 

Fath. I will then so signify to him. [Exit Father. 

Launce. A sirrah ! I see this matter's hotly carried. 
But I will labor to dissuade him from it. 

Enter Matthew Flowerdale and his Father. 

Good morrow, Master Flowerdale. 

Flow. Good morrow, good Sir Launcelot ; Master 
Weathercock, good morrow ; by my troth, gentlemen, 
I have been reading over Nick Machiavel ; 
I find him good to be known, not to be followed : 
A pestilent humane fellow ! I have made 
Certain annotations on him — such as they be ! 
And how is't, Sir Launcelot ? ha ? how is't? 
A mad world, men can not live quiet in it. 

Launce. Master Flowerdale, I do understand there 
is some jar between the Devonshire man and you. 

Fath. They, sir ? they are good friends as can be. 

Flow. Who? Master Oliver and I ? as good friends 
as can be . 

Launce. It is a kind of safety in you to deny it, and 
a generous silence, which too few are endued withal : 
but, sir, such a thing I hear, and I could wish it oth- 

3 A round truth. 



Flow. No such thing, Sir Launcelot; o' my reputa- 
tion, as I am an honest man. 

Launce. Now, then, I do believe you, if you do 
Engage your reputation there is none. 

Flow. Nay, I do not engage my reputation there is 
You shall not bind me to any condition of hardness ; 
But if there be anything between us, then there is ; 
If there be not, then there is not : be, or be not, all's 

Launce. 1 do perceive by this, that there is some- 
thing between you, and I am very sorry for it. 

Flow. You may be deceived, Sir Launcelot ; — 
the Italian 
Hath a pretty saying, Questo — I have forgot it too, 
'Tis out of my head [now], but, in my translation, 
If't hold, thus : Thou hast a friend, keep him ; if a 
foe, trip him. 

Launce. Come, I do see by this there is somewhat 
between you, 
And, before God, I could wish it otherwise. 

Flow. Well, what is between us can hardly be al- 
Sir Launcelot, I am to ride forth to-morrow, [tered : 
That way which I must ride, no man must deny me 
The sun ; I would not by any particular man, 
Be denied common and general passage. If any one 
Saith, Flowerdale, thou passest not this way: 
My answer is, I must either on or return ; 
But return is not my word ; I must on : 
If I can not then make my way, nature 
Hath done the last for me, and there's the fine. 

Launce. Master Flowerdale, every man hath one 
And two ears. Nature in her building, [tongue, 

Is a most curious workmastei . 

Flow. That is as much as to say, a man should hear 
More than he should speak. 

Launce. You say true, and indeed I have heard more, 
Than at this time I will speak. 

Flow. You say well. 

Launce. Slanders are more common than truths, 
Flowerdale ; but proof is the rule for both. [Master 

Flow. You say true. What-do-you-call-him, 
Hath't there in his third canton ?! 

Launce. I have heard you have been wild : I have 
believed it. 

Flow. 'Twas fit, 'twas necessary. 

Launce. But I have seen somewhat of late in you, 
That hath confirmed in me an opinion of 
Goodness toward you. 

Flow. Faith, sir, I'm sure I never did you harm: 
Some good I've done, either to you or yours, 
I'm sure you know not, neither is't my will you should. 

Launce. Ay, your will, sir. 

Flow. Ay, my will, sir : 'sfoot, do you know aught 
By God, an you do, sir, I am abused. [of my will ? 

Launce. Go, Mr. Flowerdale, what I know, I know : 
And know you thus much out of my knowledge, 
That I [do] truly love you. For my daughter, 
She's yours. And if you like a marriage better 
Than a brawl, all quirks of reputation set 
Aside, go with me presently : and where 
You should fight bloody battle, you'll be married 
To a [most] lovely lady. 

Flow. Nay but, Sir Launcelot ? 

I Canto is probably the word. Steevens suggests that 
young Flowerdale means to refer to the third canto of the 
Faery Queen, in which Abessaslanders the Lady Una. 

Launce. If you will not embrace my offer, yet 
Assure yourself thus much, I will have order 
To hinder your encounter. 

Flow. Nay, but hear me, Sir Launcelot. 

Launce. Nay, stand not you upon putative honor, 
'Tis merely unsound, unprofitable, and idle. 
Your business is to wed my daughter, therefore 
Give me word, I'll go and provide the maid ; 
Your present resolution, either now 
Or never. 

Flow. Will you so put me to it ? 

Launce. Ay, before God, you either take me now, 
Or take me never. Else what I thought should be 
Our match, shall be our parting, so, fare you well, 
For ever. 

Flow. Stay : fall out what may, 
My love is above all : I will come. 

Launce. I [will] expect you, and so fare you well. 
[Exit Sir Launcelot and Weathercock. 

Fath. Now, sir, how shall we do for wedding ap- 
parel ? 

Flow. By the mass, that's true : now help, Kit ; 
The marriage ended, we'll make amends for all. 

Fath. Well, well, no more, prepare you for your 
We will not want for clothes, whate'er betide. 

Flow. And thou shalt see, when once I have my 
In mirth we'll spend full many a merry hour ; 
As for this wench, I not regard a pin; 
It is her gold must bring my pleasures in. [Exit. 

Fath. Is't possible he hath his second living? 2 
Forsaking God, himself to the devil giving : 
But that I knew his mother firm and chaste, 
My heart would say, my head she had disgraced : 
But that her fair mind so foul a deed did shun, 3 
Else would I swear, he never was my son. 

Enter Uncle. 

Uncle. How now, brother ! how do you find your 

Fath. O brother, heedless as a libertine, 
Even grown a master in the school of vice ; 
One that doth nothing, but invent deceit : 
For all the day he humors up and down, 
How he the next day might deceive his friend ; 
He thinks of nothing but the present time : 
For one groat ready down, he'll pay a shilling : 
But then the lender must needs stay for it. 
When I was young, I had the scope of youth, 
Both wild, and wanton, careless, desperate : 
But such mad strains, as he's possessed withal, 
I thought it wonder for to dream upon. 

Uncle. I told you so, but you would not believe it. 

Fath. Well, I have found it; but one thing comforts 
Brother, to-morrow he's to be married [me ; 

To beauteous Luce, Sir Launcelot Spurcock's daugh- 

Uncle. Is't possible ? 

Fath. 'Tis true, and thus I mean to curb him : 
Brother, this day, I will you shall arrest him : 
If anything will tame him, it must be that, 
For he is rank in mischief, chained to a life 
That will increase his shame, and kill his wife. 

2 That is, his fellow, his equal in depravity, 
s I have transposed these two lines as they occur in other 



Uncle. What ! arrest him on his wedding-day ? That 
Were an unchristian, an inhuman part : 
How many couple, even for that very day, 
Have purchased seven years' sorrow afterward ? 
Forbear him then to-day ; — do it to-morrow ; 
And this day mingle not his joy with sorrow. 

Fath. Brother, I'll have it done this very day, 
And, in the view of all, as he comes from church. 
Do but observe the course that he will take ; 
Upon my life he will forswear the debt : 
And, for we'll have the sum shall not be slight, 
Say that he owes you near three thousand pound : 
Good brother, let it be done immediately. 

Uncle. Well, brother, seeing you will have it so, 
I'll do it, and straight provide the sheriff. 

Fath. So, brother, by this means shall we perceive 
What ['tis] Sir Launcelot in this pinch will do ; 
And how his wife doth stand affected to him ! 
Her love will then be tried to the uttermost ; 
And all the rest of them. What I will do, 
Shall harm him much, and much avail him too. [Exit. 

SCENE III.— A High Road near London. 

Enter Oliver, and afterward, Sir Arthur Green- 

Oli. Cham assured thick be the place that the 
scoundrel [zo. 

Appointed to meet me : if a come, zo ; if a come not, 
And che war avise, he would make a coystrel 1 on us, 
Ched veze him, and che vang him in hand, che would 
Hoist him, and give it him too and again, zo chud. 
Who been a there ! Sir Arthur ? chil stay aside. 

Arth. I've dogged the De'nshire man into the field, 
For fear of any harm that should befall him : 
I had an inkling of that yesternight, 
That Flowerdale and he should meet this morning: 
Though, of my soul, Oliver fears him not, 
Yet, for I'd see fair play on either side, 
Made me to come, to see their valors tried. 
Good morrow to you, Master Oliver. 

Oli. God and good morrow. 

Arth. What, Master Oliver, are you angry? 

Oli. What an it be, tyt an grieven you? 

Arth. Not me at all, sir, but I imagine by 
Your being here thus armed, you stay for some 
That you should fight withal. 

Oli. Why an he do, che would not dezire you to 
take his part. 

Arth. No, by my troth, I think you need it not, 
For he you look for, I think means not to come. 

Oli. No, and che war assure of that, ched veze him 
in another place. 

Enter Daffodil. 

Daff. O, Sir Arthur, Master Oliver, ah me ! 
Your love, and yours, and mine, sweet Mistress Luce, 
This morn is married to young Flowerdale. 

Arth. Married to Flowerdale ! Impossible. 

Oli. Married, man ? che hope thou dost but jest, 
To make a vlowten 2 merriment of it. 

Daff. 0, 'tis too true ; here comes his uncle. 

1 Coystrel, from the French coustillier, properly the ser- 
vant of" a man-at-arms ; hence it became degraded in its sig- 
nification, and was applied to a low, mean person. 

2 Flouting. 

Enter Flowerdale, Sheriff, Officers. 

Uncle. Good morrow, Sir Arthur; good morrow, 
Master Oliver. 

Oli. God and good morn, Mr. Flowerdale. I pray 
you tellen us, is your scoundrel kinsman married ? 

Uncle. [Ay] , Master Oliver, call him what you will, 
But he is married to Sir Launcelot's daughter. 

Arth. Unto her? 

Oli. Ah ! ha the old fellow zerved me thick a trick ? 
Why, man, he was a promise chil chud a had her ; 
Is a zitch a vox, chil look to his water che vor him. 

Uncle. The music plays ; they are coming from the 
Sheriff, do your office : fellows, stand stoutly to it ! 

Enter Sir Launcelot Sfurcock, M. Flowerdale, 
Weathercock, Civet, Luce, Frances, Flower- 
dale, senior, and Attendants. 

Oli. God give you joy, as the old zaid proverb is, 
and some zorrow among ! You met us well, did you 

Launce. Nay, be not angry, sir, the fault's in me : 
I have done all the wrong — kept him from coming 
To the field to you, as I might, sir, for I'm a justice, 
And sworn to keep the peace. 

Weath. Ay, marry is he, sir, 

A very justice, and sworn to keep the peace : 
You must not disturb the weddings. 

Launce. Nay, never frown nor storm, sir ; if you do, 
I'll have an order taken for you. 

Oli. Well, chil be quiet. 

Weath. Master Flowerdale, Sir Launcelot, look you, 
who's here, Master Flowerdale ? 

Launce. Master Flowerdale, welcome with all my 

Flow. Uncle, this is she — faith! Master under- 
Arrest me ? At whose suit ? Draw, Kit ! 

Uncle. At my suit, sir. 

Launce. Why, what's the matter, Master Flower- 
dale ? 

Uncle. This is the matter, sir : this unthrift here 
Hath cozened you; and [he] hath had of me, 
In several sums, three thousand pound. 

Flow. Why, uncle ! 

Uncle. Cousin, you have uncled me, 

And if you be not [now] stayed, you will prove 
A cozener unto all that know you. 

Launce. Why, sir, suppose he be to you in debt 
Ten thousand pound, his state to me appears 
To be at least three thousand by the year. 

Uncle. O, sir, I was too late informed of that plot, 
How that he went about to cozen you : 
And formed a will, and sent it to your friend there, 
Good Master Weathercock, in which was nothing true, 
But brags and lies. 

Launce. Ha ! hath he not such lordships, lands, and 
ships ? 

Uncle. Not worth a groat, not worth a halfpenny, he. 

Launce. Pray, tell us true ; be plain, young Flower- 

Flowerda. My uncle 's mad, disposed to do me 
wrong ; 
But here's my man, by the Lord, an honest fellow, 
And of good credit, knows [that] all is true. 

Fath. Not I, sir; I'm too old to lie ; I rather know 



You forged a will, where every line you writ, 
You studied where to quote your lands might lie. 

Weath. I pr'y thee, where be they, my honest friend ? 

Fath. I'faith, nowhere, sir, for he hath none at all. 

Weath. Benedict ! we are o'erreached, I believe. 

Launce. I'm cozened, and my hopeful'st child un- 

Flow. You are not cozened, nor is she undone ; 
They slander me ; by this light, they slander me : 
Look you, my uncle here's an usurer, 
And would undo me, but I'll stand in law ; 
Do you but bail me, you shall do no more : 
You, brother Civet, Master Weathercock, 
Bail me, and let me have my marriage-money, 
And we'll ride down, and there your eyes shall see 
How my poor tenants there will welcome me. 
You shall but bail me, you shall do no more ; 
And you, you greedy gnat, their bail will serve. 

Uncle. Ay, sir, I'll ask no better bail. 

Launce. No, sir, you shall not take my bail, nor his, 
Nor my son Civet's. I'll not be cheated. Ay ! 
Shrieve, take your prisoner ; I'll not deal with him ; 
Let's uncle make false dice with his false bones, 
I'll not have to do with him : mocked, gulled, and 

wronged ! 
Come, girl, though it be late, it falls out well — 
Thou shalt not live with him in beggar's hell. 

Luce. He is my husband, and high Heaven doth 
With what unwillingness I went to church, 
But you enforced me, you compelled me to it ; 
The holy man pronounced these words but now: 
I must not leave my husband in distress : 
Now, I must comfort him, not go with you. 

Launce. Comfort a cozener ! On my curse forsake 

Luce. This day you caused me on your curse to 
take him : 
Do not, I pray, my grieved soul oppress ; 
God knows my heart doth bleed at his distress ! 

Launce. 0, Master Weathercock, I must confess 
I forced her to this match, 
Led with opinion his false will was true. 

Weath. He hath o'erreached me too. 

Launce. She might have lived 

Like Delia, in a happy virgin state. 

Delia. Father, be patient ; sorrow comes too late. 

Launce. And on her knees she begged and did en- 
If she must needs taste a sad marriage-life, [treat, 
She craved to be Sir Arthur Greenshield's wife. 

Arth. You have done her and me the greater wrong. 

Launce. O, take her yet. 

Arth. Not I. 

Launce. Or, Master Oliver, 

Accept my child, and half my wealth is yours. 

Oli. No, sir, chil break no laws. 

Luce. Never fear, she will not trouble you. 

Delia. Yet, sister, in this passion 
Do not run headlong to confusion : 
You may affect him, though not follow him. 

Frances. No, sister ; hang him, let him go. 

Weath. Do, 'faith, Mistress Luce, 
Leave him. 

Luce. You are three gross fools, let me alone ! 
I swear, I'll live with him in all his moan. 

Oli. But an he have his legs at liberty, 
Cham aveard he will never live with you. 

Arth. Ay, but he is now in huckster's handling for 
running away. 

Launce. Huswife, you hear how you and I am 
And if you will redress it yet you may : 
But if you stand on terms to follow him, 
Never come near my sight, nor look on me ; 
Call me not father ; look not for a groat ; 
For all the portion I will this day give 
Unto thy sister Frances. 

Frances. How say you to that, Tom? [To Civet. 
I shall have a good deal ; 
Besides, I'll be a good wife ; and a good wife 
Is a good thing I can teU. 

Civet. Peace, Frank, I would be sorry to see thy 
sister cast away, as I am a gentleman. 

Launce. What, are you yet resolved? 

Luce. Yes, I'm resolved. 

Launce. Come then away, or now, or never come. 

Luce. This way I turn, go you unto your feast, 
And I to weep, that am with grief oppressed. 

Launce. For ever fly my sight. Come, gentlemen, 
Let's in, I'll help you to far better wives. 
Delia, upon my blessing talk not to her ; 
Base baggage, in such haste to beggary ! 

Uncle. Sheriff, take your prisoner to your charge. 

Flow. Uncle, by God, you have used me very 
hardly ; 
By my troth, upon my wedding-day. 

[Exeunt Sir Launcelot, Civet, and all but 
young Flowerdale, his Father, Uncle, 
Sheriff, and Officers. 

Luce. 0, Master Flowerdale, but hear me speak; 
Stay but a little while, good Master Sheriff; 
If not for him, for my sake pity him : 
Good sir, stop not your ears at my complaint, 
My voice grows weak, for women's words are faint. 

Flow. Look you, uncle, where she kneels to you. 

Uncle. Fair maid, for you, I love you with my 
And grieve, sweet soul, thy fortune is so bad, 
That thou shouldst match with such a graceless 
Go to thy father ; think not upon him, [youth ; 

Whom hell hath marked to be the son of shame. 

Luce. Impute his wildness, sir, unto his youth, 
And think that now's the time he doth repent : 
Alas, what good or gain can you receive, 
T'imprison him that nothing hath to pay ? 
And where naught is, the king doth lose his due : 
0, pity him, as God shall pity you. 

Uncle. Lady, I know his humors all too well, 
And nothing in the world can do him good, 
But misery itself to chain him with. 

Luce. Say that your debts were paid, then is he 

Uncle. Ay, virgin, that being answered, I have 
But that to him is as impossible, [done; 

As 'twere with me to scale the pyramids. 
Shrieve, take your prisoner ; maiden, fare thee well. 

Luce. 0, go not yet, good Master Flowerdale : 
Take my word for the debt ; my word, my bond. 

Flow. Ay, by God, uncle, and my bond too. 

Luce. Alas, I ne'er ought 1 nothing but I paid it ; 
And I can work ; alas, he can do nothing : 
I have some friends perhaps will pity me, 
His chiefest friends do seek his misery. 
1 " Ought" — owed. 



All that I can, or beg, get, or receive, 
Shall be for you : 0, do not turn away : 
Methinks that one with face so reverent ; 
So well experienced in this tottering world, 
Should have some feeling of a maiden's grief: 
For my sake, for his father's, your brother's sake, 
Ay, for your soul's sake, that doth hope for joy, 
Pity my state ; do not two souls destroy. 

Uncle. Fair maid, stand up; not in regard of him, 
But in [deep] pity of thy hapless choice, 
I do release him : Master Shrieve, I thank you : 
And officers, there is for you to drink. 
Maid, take this money, there's a hundred angels ; 
And, for I will be sure he shall not have it, 
Here, Kester, take it you ; use't sparingly, 
But let not her have any want at all. 
Dry your eyes, niece, do not too much lament 
For him whose life hath been in riot spent : 
If well he useth thee, he gets him friends ; 
If ill, a shameful end on him depends. [Exit Uncle. 

Flow. A plague go with you for an old fornicator : 
Come, Kit, the money, come, honest Kit. 

Fath. Nay, by my faith, sir, you shall pardon me. 

Flow. And why, sir, pardon you ? give me the 
money, you old rascal, or I shall make you. 

Luce. Pray, hold your hands, give it him, honest 

Fath. If you be so content, with all my heart. 

Flow. Content, sir; 'sblood! — she shall be content 
Whether she will or no. A rattle-baby come 
To follow me ! 

Go, get you gone to the greasy chuff your father ; 
Bring me your dowry, or never look on me. 

Fath. Sir, she hath forsook her father, and all her 
friends for you. 

Flow. Hang thee, her friends, and father, alto- 

Fath. Yet part with something to provide her lodg- 

Flow. Yes, I mean to part with her and you ; but 
if I part with one angel, hang me at a post. I'll 
rather throw them at a cast of dice, as I have done 
a thousand of their fellows. 

Fath. Nay, then, I will be plain, degenerate boy, 
Thou hadst a father would have been ashamed 

Flow. My father was an ass, an old ass. 

Fath. Thy father ? [Oh ! thou] proud licentious 
villain ; 
What are you at your foils ? I'll foil with you. 

Luce. Good sir, forbear him. 

Fath. Did not this whining woman hang on me, 
I'd teach thee what 't was t'abuse thy father : 
Go hang, beg, starve, dice, game, that when all's 

Thou may'st after despair and hang thyself. 

Luce. 0, do not curse him. 

Fath. I do not, but to pray for him were vain ; 
It grieves me that he bears his father's name. 

Flow. Well, you old rascal, I shall meet with you : 
Sirrah, get you gone ; I will not strip the livery 
Over your ears, because you paid for it : 
But do not use my name, sirrah, do you hear ? 
Look [that] you do not ; you were best. 

Fath. Pay me the twenty pound then that I lent 
Or give security when I may have it. [y° u > 

Flow. I'll pay thee not a penny ; 
And for security, I'll give thee none. 

Minckins, 1 look you do not follow me ; 
If you do, beggar, I shall slit your nose. 

Luce. Alas, what shall I do ? 

Flow. Why [not] turn whore ? that's a good trade ; 
And so perhaps I'll see thee now and then. 

[Exit Flowerdale. 

Luce. Alas, the day that ever I was born. 

Fath. Sweet mistress, do not weep ; I'll stick to 

Luce. Alas, my friend, I know not what to do ; 
My father and my friends, they have despised me : 
And I, a wretched maid, thus cast away, 
Know neither where to go, nor what to say. 

Fath. It grieves me to 2 the soul to see her tears 
Thus stain the crimson roses of her cheeks : 
Lady, take comfort, do not mourn in vain, 
I have a little living in this town, 
The which I think comes to a hundred pound ; 
All that and more shall be at your dispose ; 
I'll strait go help you to some strange disguise, 
And place you in a service in this town : 
Where you shall know all, yet yourself unknown : 
Come, grieve no more, where no help can be had, 
Weep not for him, that is more worse than bad. 

Luce. I thank you, sir. [Exeunt. 


SCENE I. — A Room in Sir Latjncelot Sfurcock's 
House, in Kent. 

Enter Sir Latjncelot Spuecock, Sir Arthur, Oli- 
ver, Weatheecock, Civet, Frances, and Delia. 

Oli. Well, cha' a bin zerved many a sluttish trick, 
But such a lerripoop as thick ych was ne'er sarved. 

Launce. Son Civet, daughter Frances, bear with me, 
You see how I 'm pressed down with inward grief, 
About that luckless girl. But, 'tis fallen out 
With me, as with many families beside, 
They are most unhappy, that are most beloved. 

Civet. Father, 'tis even so ; 'tis fallen out so ! 
But what the remedy. Set hand to heart, 
And let it pass. Here is your daughter Frances, 
And I. We'll not say that we will bring forth. 
As witty children, but as pretty children 
As ever she was ; though she had the prick 3 
And praise for a pretty wench. But, father, 
Dun 4 is the mouse ; — you'll come ? 

Launce. Ay, son Civet, I'll come. 

Civ. And you, Master Oliver ? 

Oli. Ay, for che a vext out this veast, chil see if a 
Make abetter veast there. [gan 

Civ. And you, Sir Arthur ? 

Arth. Ay, sir, although my heart be full, 
I'll be a partner at your wedding feast. 

Civ. And welcome all indeed, and welcome ; 
Come, Frank, are you ready ? 

1 Probably a corruption of mannikin, or minikin — a little 

2 Old copies read, "at the soul." 

3 " Prick" was the centre of the target in archery. It was 
consequently the mark shot at. " Pricked and praised" was 
a common phrase to designate one who was distinguished 
over all — who had won the prize. 

4 " Dun is the mouse." That is to say, you cannot change 
the color of the thing now. A proverbial speech, which oc- 
curs in Romeo and Juliet : " Tut : dun's the mouse." 



Frances. Jeu, how hasty all these husbands are ; 
I pray, father, pray to God to bless me. 

Launce. God bless thee, and I do ; God make thee 

Send you both joy, I wish it with wet eyes, [wise ; 

Frances. But, father, shall not my sister Delia go 

along with us ? She is excellent good at cookery, and 

such things. 

Launce. Yes, marry shall she : Delia, make you 

Delia. I'm ready, sir, I will first go to Greenwich, 
From thence to my cousin Chesterfield, and so 
To London. 

Civ. It shall suffice, good sister Delia, it shall suf- 
fice ; but fail us not, good sister ; give order to cooks, 
and others ; for I would not have my sweet Frank 
to soil her fingers. 

Frances. No, by my troth, not I ; a gentlewoman, 
and a married gentlewoman too, to be companion to 
cooks and kitchen-boys ; not I, i'faith; I scorn that. 
Civ. Why, 1 do not mean thou shalt, sweet heart ; 
thou seest I do not go about it : Well, farewell to 
you. God's pity, Mr. Weathercock ! we shall have 
your company too ? 

Weath. With all my heart, for I love good cheer. 
Civ. Well, God be with you all ; come, Frank. 
Frances. God be with you, father, God be with you, 
Sir Arthur, Master Oliver, and Master Weathercock, 
sister ; God be with you all : God be with you, father ; 
God be with you every one. 

[Exeunt Civet and Frances. 
Weath. Why, how now, Sir Arthur, all a mort ? 
Master Oliver, how now, man ? 
Cheerly, Sir Launcelot, and merrily say, 
Who can hold that will away ? 

Launce. Ay, she is gone indeed, poor girl, undone ; 
But when they'll be self-willed, children must smart. 
Arth. But, that she is wronged, you are the chiefest 
cause ; 
Therefore 'tis reason you redress her wrong. 

Weath. Indeed you must, Sir Launcelot, you must. 
Launce Must ? who can compel me, Master Weath- 
I hope I may do what I list. [ercock? 

Weath. I grant you may, you may do what you list. 
Oli. Nay, but and you be well evisen, it were not 
By this vrampolness, and vrowardness, to cast away 
As pretty a Dowsabel, as ane could chance to see 
In a summer's day : chil tell you what chall do, 
Chil go spy up and down the town, and see 
If I can hear any tale or tidings of her, 
And take her away from thick a messel, vor cham 
Assured he will but bring her to the spoil ; 
And so var well ; we shall meet at your son Civet's. 
Launce. I thank you, sir, I take it very kindly. 
Arth. To find her out, I'll spend my dearest blood. 
So well I loved her, to effect her good. 

[Exeunt both. 
Launce. O, Master Weathercock, what hap had I 
To force my daughter from Master Oliver, 
And this good knight, to one that hath no goodness 
In's thought? 

Weath. Ill luck, but what the remedy? 
Launce. Yes, I have almost devised a remedy. 
Young Flowerdale is sure a prisoner. 
Weath. Sure, nothing more sure. 
Launce. And yet perhaps his uncle hath released 

Weath. It may be very like, no doubt he hath. 

Launce. Well, if he be in prison, I'll have warrants 
T'attach my daughter till the law be tried, 
For I will sue him upon cozenage. 

Weath. Marry, you may, and overthrow him too. 

Launce. Nay, that's not so ; I may chance to be 
And sentence passed with him. [scoffed, 

Weath. Believe me, so it may ; therefore take heed. 

Launce. Well howsoever, yet I will have warrants, 
In prison, or at liberty, all's one : 
You'll help to serve them, Master Weathercock? 


SCENE II.— A Street in London. 

Enter Matthew Flowerdale. 

Flow. A plague of the devil ; the devil take the 
dice! — the dice, and the devil, and his dam together ! 
Of all my hundred golden angels, I have not left me 
one denier : a pox of " come a five," 1 what shall I do ? 
I can borrow no more of my credit: there's not any 
of my acquaintance, man, nor boy, but I have bor- 
rowed more or less of; I would I knew where to take 
a good purse, and go clear away ; by this light, I'll 
venture for it. God's lid, my sister Delia ! I'll rob her, 
by this hand. 

Enter Delia and Artichoke. 

Delia. I pr'ythee, Artichoke, go not so fast, 
The weather's hot, and I am something weary. 

Arti. Nay, I warrant you, Mistress Delia, I'll not 
tire you 
With leading, we'll go an extreme moderate pace. 

Flow. Stand, deliver your purse. 

Arti. 0, Lord, thieves, thieves ! 

[Exit Artichoke. 

Flow. Come, come, your purse, lady ; your purse. 

Delia. That voice I have heard often before this 
time ; 
What, brother Flowerdale become a thief? 

Flow. Ay, plague on't! — thank your father! 
But sister, come, your money, come : What ! 
The world must find me ; I was born to live ; 
'Tis not a sin to steal, when none will give. 

Delia. O, God, is all grace banished from thy heart, 
Think of the shame that doth attend this fact. 

Flow. Shame me no shames ; come, give me your 
purse ; 
I'll bind you, sister, lest I fare the worse. 

Delia. No, bind me not ; hold ; there is all I have, 
And would that money would redeem thy shame. 

Enter Oliver, Sir Arthur, and Artichoke. 

Arti. Thieves, thieves, thieves ! 

Oli. Thieves ! where man ? why, how now, Mis- 
tress Delia ; 
Ha' you a liked to been a robbed ? 

Delia. No, Master Oliver, 'tis Master Flowerdale ; 
He did but jest with me. 

Oli. How, Flowerdale, that scoundrel? sirrah, you 
meten us well ; vang 2 thee that. [Strikes him. 

Flow. Well, sir, I'll not meddle with you, because 
I have a charge. 

1 " Come a Jive .'" was his invocation to the dice ; — a pox 
on it for he uttered it in vain. 

2 Vang thee thai — " take notice," in the jargon of Devon- 



Delia. Here, brother Flowerdale, I'll lend you this 
same money. 

Flow. I thank you, sister. 

Oli. I wad you were ysplit, an you let the mezel 
have a penny ; but since you can not keep it, chil 
keep it myself. 

Arth. 'Tis pity to relieve him in this sort, 
Who makes a triumphant life 1 his daily sport. 

Delia. Brother, you see how all men censure you : 
Farewell, and I pray God t'amend your life. 

Oli. Come, chil bring you along, and you safe 
enough from twenty such scoundrels as thick an one 
is. Farewell, and be hanged, zirrah, as I think so 
thou wilt be shortly. Come, Sir Arthur. 

[Exeunt all but Flow- 

Flow. A plague go with you for a kersey rascal ! 
This De'nshire man I think is made all pork, 
His hands made only for to heave up packs ; 
His heart as fat and big as his face, 
As differing far from all brave gallant minds, 
As I to serve the hogs, and drink with hinds, 
As I am very near now. Well, what remedy? 
When money, means, and friends, do grow so small, 
Then farewell life, and there's an end of all ! [Exit. 

SCENE III.— Another Street, before Civet's Home. 

Enter Flowerdale, senior, Luce like a Dutch Frow, 
Civet, and Frances. 

Civ. By my troth, God 'a mercy for this, good Chris- 
topher ! I thank thee for my maid ; like her well : 
how dost thou like her, Frances ? 

Frances. In good sadness, Tom, very well, excel- 
lent well ; 
She speaks so prettily. — I pray what's your name ? 

Luce. My name, forsooth, be called Tanikin. 

Frances. By my troth, a fine name : Tanikin, you 
are excellent for dressing one's head a new fashion. 

Luce. Me sail do everyting about de head. 

Civ. What countrywoman is she, Kester ? 

Fath. A Dutch woman, sir. 

Civ. Why, then, she is outlandish, is she not? 

Fath. Ay, sir, she is. 

Frances. O, then thou canst tell how to help me to 
cheeks and ears. 2 

Luce. Yes, mistress, wery veil. 

Fath. Cheeks and ears ! Why, Mistress Frances, 
why want you cheeks and ears ? methinks you have 
very fair ones. 

Frances. Thou art a fool, indeed. Tom, thou know- 
est what I mean. 

Civ. Ay, ay, Kester, 'tis such as they wear o' their 
heads. I pr'ythee, Kit, have her in, and show her my 

Fath. I will, sir ; come, Tanikin. 

Frances. Oh ! Tom, you have not bussed me to- 
day, Tom. 

Civ. No, Frances, we must not kiss afore folks : 
God save me, Frank ! see yonder : Delia's come ; — 

Enter Delia and Artichoke. 

Welcome, good sister. 

1 Triumphant life, or triumphant vice ? There is some- 
thing wrong about this passage. Some happy suggestion 
may make better sense of it to the reader. 

» Malone thinks that this inquiry relates to some fashion- 
able head-dress. 

Frances. Welcome, sister ; how do you like the 
'tire of my head ? 
Delia. Very well, sister. 

Civ. I am glad you're come, sister Delia, to give 
order for supper ; they will be here soon. 

Arti. Ay, but if good luck had not served, she had 
not beeu here now : filching Flowerdale had like to 
have peppered us j but for Master Oliver, we had 
been robbed. 
Delia. Peace, sirrah ! no more. 

Fath. Robbed ! by whom ? 
Arti. Marry, by none but Flowerdale ; he's turned 

Civ. By my faith, but that's not well ; but, God be 
For your escape ; will you draw near, my sister ? 

Fath. Sirrah, come hither ; would Flowerdale, he 
that was my master, have robbed you? I pr'ythee 
tell me true ? 

Arti. Yes, faith, even that Flowerdale that was thy 

Fath. Hold thee, there's a French crown — speak 
no more of this. [Aside. 

Arti. Not I ; not a word : now do I smell knavery : 
In every purse this Flowerdale takes, he's half — 
Aud gives me this to keep counsel : not a word I ! 
Fath. Why, God ha' mercy ! 
Frances. Sister, look here ; I have a new Dutch 
Aud she speaks so fine, it would do your heart good. 
Civ. How do you like her, sister ? 
Delia. I like your maid well. 

Civ. Well, dear sister, will you draw near, and give 
directions for supper ? The guests will be here pres- 
Delia. Yes, brother, lead the way ; I'll follow you, 
[Exeunt all but Delia and Luce. 
Hark you, Dutch frow, a word. 
Luce. Vat is your vill wit me ? 

Delia. Sister Luce, 'tis not your broken language, 
Nor this same habit, can disguise your face 
From I that know you. Pray tell me, what means 
Luce. Sister, I see you know me, yet be secret : 
This borrowed shape that I have ta'en upon me 
Is but to keep myself a space unknown, 
Both from my father and my nearest friends, 
Until I see how time will bring to pass 
The desperate course of Master Flowerdale. 
Delia. 0, he is worse than bad ; I pr'ythee leave 
And let not once thy heart to think on him. 

Luce. Do not persuade me now to such a thought ; 
Imagine yet that he is worse than naught : 
Yet one hour's 3 time may all that ill undo 
That all his former life did run into. 
Therefore, kind sister, do not disclose my state ; 
If e'er his heart doth turn, 'tis ne'er too late. 
Delia. Well, seeing no counsel can remove youi 
I'll not disclose you, that art wilful blind. 
Luce. Delia, I thank you. I now must please her 
My sister Frank, who's neither fair nor wise. 


3 The old folio reads " lover's," and it is barely possible 
that we should ascribe his cure to love rather than time. 




SCENE I.— Street before Civet's House. 

Enter M. Flowerdale, solus. 

Flow. On goes he that knows no end of his jour- 
ney ! I have passed the very utmost bounds of shift- 
ing ; I have no course now but to hang myself. I 
have lived since yesterday, two o'clock, of a spice- 
cake I had at a burial :• and for drink, I got it at an 
alehouse, among porters — such as will bear out a 
man, if he have no money indeed, — I mean, out of 
their companies, — for they are men of good car- 
riage. 2 Who comes here ? The two cony-catchers, 
that won all my money of me. I'll try if they'll lend 
me any. 

Enter Dick and Ralph. 

What, Master Richard, how do you do ? How do'st 
thou, Ralph ? By God ! gentlemen, the world grows 
bare with me : will you do as much as lend me an 
angel between you both? — you know you won a 
hundred of me t'other day. 

Ralph. How, an angel ? 

Damn us if we lost not every penny 
Within an hour after thou wert gone ! 

Flow. I pr'ythee lend me so much as will pay tor 
my supper ; 
I'll pay you again, as I am a gentleman. 

Ralph. I'faith, we've not a farthing, not a mite : 
I wonder at it, Master Flowerdale, 
You will so carelessly undo yourself. 
Why, you will lose more money in an hour, 
Than any honest man spends in a year. 
For shame, betake you to some honest trade, 
And live not thus so like a vagabond ! 

[Exeunt both. 

Flow. A vagabond, indeed ! more villains you : 
They give me counsel that first cozened me. 
Those devils first brought me to this I am, 
And, being thus, the first that do me wrong. 
Well, yet I have one friend left me in store : 
Not far from hence there dwells a cockatrice, 3 
One that I first put in a satin gown ; 
And not a tooth that dwells within her head, 
But stands me at the least in twenty pound : 
Her will I visit, now my coin is gone, 
Here, as I take it, dwells the gentlewoman. 
What, ho ! is Mistress Apricock within ? 

Enter Ruffian. 

Ruff. What saucy rascal is't that knocks so bold ? 
Oh ! is it you, old spendthrift ? are you here? 
One that's turned cozener about the town? 
My mistress saw you, and sends this word by me : 
Either be packing quickly from the door, 
Or you shall have such greeting sent you straight 
As you will little like. You had best begone. [Exit. 

_ 1 There was always some refreshment at ancient funerals : 
rich cake for the mourners, and poor cake (which includes 
the prodigal's spice-cake) for the populace. 

2 A quibble between carrying burdens and demeanor. 


3 A prostitute. 

Flow. Why, so, this is as it should be : being poor, 
Thus art thou served by a vile, painted whore. 
Well, since the damned crew do so abuse me, 
I'll try, of honest men, how they will use me. 

Enter an ancient Citizen. 

Sir, I beseech you to take compassion of a man ; one 
whose fortunes have been better than at this instant 
they seem to be : but if I might crave of you so much 
little portion as would bring me to my friends, I would 
rest thankful until I had requited so great a courtesy. 

Citi. Fie ! fie ! young man, this course is very bad ; 
Too many such have we about this city ; 
Yet, for I have not seen you in this sort, 
Nor noted you to be a common beggar — 
Hold, there's an angel to bear your charges down : 
Go to your friends ; do not on this depend ; 
Such bad beginnings oft have worser end. 

[Exit Citizen. 

Flow. Worser end! Nay, if it fall out no worse 
than in old angels, I care not ! Now, that I have 
had such a fortunate beginning, I'll not let a six- 
penny purse escape me. By the mass, here comes 
another ! 

Enter a Citizen's Wife, with Servant, and a torch be- 
fore her. 

God bless you, fair mistress ! Now, would it please 
you, gentlewoman, to look into the wants of a poor 
gentleman — a younger brother: I doubt not but God 
will treble restore it back again ; one that never be- 
fore this time demanded penny, halfpenny, nor far- 

Citi. Wife. Stay, Alexander. Now, by my troth, a 
very proper man ; and 'tis great pity. Hold, my 
friend; there's all the money I have about me — a 
couple of shillings : and God bless thee. 

Flow. Now God thank you, sweet lady : if you have 
any friend, or garden-house where you may employ 
a poor gentleman as your friend, I am yours to com- 
mand in all secret service. 

Citi. Wife. I thank you, good friend ; I pr'ythee let 
me see that again I gave thee ; there is one of them 
a brass shilling : give me them, and here is half-a- 
crown in gold. [He gives it her. 

Now out upon thee, rascal ! Secret service — what 
dost thou make of me ? It were a good deed to have 
thee whipped ! Now I have my money again, I'll see 
thee hanged before I give thee a penny. Secret ser- 
vice ! — On, good Alexander. [Exeunt both. 

Flow. This is viUanous luck ; I perceive dishonesty 
will not thrive : here comes more ! God forgive me ! 
Sir Arthur and Master Oliver ! Afore God, I'll speak 
to them. God save you, Sir Arthur. God save you, 
Master Oliver. 

OIL Been you there, zirrah ? Come, will you taken 
yourself to your tools, coystrel ? 

Flow. Nay, Master Oliver, I'll not fight with you ; 
alas ! sir, you know it was not my doings ; it was 
only a plot to get Sir Launcelot's daughter : by God, 
I never meant you harm. 

Oli. And where is the gentlewoman thy wife, me- 
zel ? Where is she, zirrah, ha ? 

Flow. By my troth, Master Oliver, sick, very sick ; 
an God is my judge, I know not what means to take 
for her. good gentlewoman. 



Oli. Tell me true, is she sick? Tell me true, itch 
'vise thee. 

Flow. Yes, faith, I tell you true : Master Oliver, 
if you would do me the small kindness but to lend me 
forty shillings, so God help me , I will pay you so soon 
as my ability shall make me able, as I am a gentle- 

Oli. Well, thou zayest thy wife is zick : hold, 
there's vorty shillings ; give it to thy wife ; look thou 
give it her, or I shall so veze thee, thou wert not so 
vezed this zeven year ; look to it. 

Arth. I'faith, Master Oliver, it is in vain 
To give to him that never thinks of her. 

Oli. Well, would che could yvind it. 

Flow. I tell you true, Sir Arthur, as I am a gentle- 

Oli. Well, farewell, zirrah. Come, Sir Arthur. 

[Exeunt both. 

Flow. By the Lord, this is excellent ! 
Five golden angels compassed in an hour : 
If this trade hold, I'll never seek a new; — 
Welcome, sweet gold, and beggary adieu. 

Enter Flowerdale, senior, and Flowerdale, junior. 

Uncle. See, Kester, if you can find the house. 

Flow. Who's here — my uncle, and my man Kes- 
ter? By the mass, 'tis they ! How do you, uncle ? 
how do'st thou, Kester ? By my troth, uncle, you 
must needs lend me some money ; the poor gentle- 
woman my wife, so God help me, is very sick ; I was 
robbed of the hundred angels you gave me ; they are 

Uncle. Ay, they are gone, indeed : come, Kester, 

Flow. Nay, uncle, do you hear ? good uncle ! 

Uncle. Out, hypocrite ! I will not hear thee speak. 
Come, leq,ve him, Kester. 

Flow. Kester, honest Kester ! 

Fath. Sir, I have naught to say to you. — 
Open the door to me. 'Kin, thou hadst best 
Lock fast, for there's a false knave [here] without. 

Flow. You are an old lying rascal, so you are ! 
[Flowehdale, sen.,an<ZFLOWERDALE,jun.,goin. 

Enter Luce from Civet's House. 

Luce. Vat is de matter ? Vat be you, yonker ? 

Flow. By this light, a Dutch frow ; they say they 
are called kind ; I'll try her. 

Luce. Vat be you, yonker? Why do you not speak ? 

Flow. By my troth, sweetheart, a poor gentleman 
that would desire of you, if it stand with your liking, 
the bounty of your purse. 

Re-enter Flowerdale, senior. 

Luce. hear him, God ! so young an armin. 1 

Flow. Armin, sweetheart ? I know not what you 
mean by that ; but I am almost a beggar. 

Luce. Are you not a married man ? Vere been your 
vife ? Here's all I have ; take dis. 

Flow. What ! gold, young frow ? This is brave. 

Folk. If he have any grace, he'll now repent. 


Luce. Why speak you not ? Vere be your vife ? 

1 Armin— beggar. 


Flow. Dead, dead, she's dead ; 'tis she that hath 
undone me ? Spent me all I had, and kept rascals 
under my nose to brave me. 

Luce. Did you use her veil? 

Flow. Use her ! there's never a gentlewoman in 
England could be better used than I did her. I could 
but coach her ; her diet stood me in forty pound a 
month ; but she is dead, and in her grave ; my cares 
are buried. 

Luce. Indeed! dat vas not scone. 2 

Fath. He is turned more devil than he was before. 


Flow. Thou dost belong to Master Civet here : 
Dost thou not ? 

Luce. Yes, me do. 

Flow. Why, there's it ! 

There's not a handful of plate but [it] belongs 
To me. God's my judge, if I [but] had 
Such a wench as thou, there's never a man 
In England would make more of her than I 
Would do — so she had any stock ? 

[Voice within.] Why, Tanikin ! 

Luce. Stay ; one doth call. I shall come by-and- 
by. Again ! [Call within. Exit Luce within. 

Flow. By this hand, this Dutch wench is in love 
Were it not admirable to make her steal [with me ! 
All Civet's plate, and run away [with me] ? 

Fath. It were beastly ! 0, Master Flowerdale ! 
Have you no fear of God, nor conscience ? 
What do you mean by this vile course you take ? 

Flow. What do I mean? why, to live: 'tis that I mean. 

Fath. To live in this sort ? fie upon the course ! 
Your life doth show, you are a very coward. 

Flow. A coward ! 1 pray in what ? 

Fath. Why, you will borrow sixpence of a boy. 

Flow. 'Snails, is there such a cowardice in that ? 
I dare borrow it of a man ; ay, and of the tallest man 
in England, — if he will lend it me : let me borrow it 
how I can, and let them come by it how they dare. 
And it is well known, I might have rid out a hundred 
times if I would ; so I might. 

Fath. It was not want of will, but cowardice ; 
There is none that lends to you, but know they gain ; 
And what is that but only stealth in you ? 
Delia might hang you now, did not her heart 
Take pity of you for her sister's sake. 
Go. get you hence, lest ling'ring here your stay, 
You fall into their hands you look not for. 

Flow. I'll tarry here, till the Dutch frow comes, if 
all the devils in hell were here. 

Flowerdale, senior, goes into Civet's House. Enter 
Sir Launcelot, Master Weathercock, and Arti- 

Launce. Where is the door? are we not past it, 

Arti. By the mass, here's one ; I'll ask him. Do 
you hear, sir ? What, are you so proud ? Do you 
hear? which is the way to Master Civet's house? 
what, will you not speak ? 0, me ! This is filching 

Lance. 0, wonderful ! is this lewd villain here ? 
You cheating rogue, you cutpurse, cony-catcher, 
What ditch, you villain, is my daughter's grave? 
A cozening rascal, that must make a will ! 

2 Nicht-schoon—" not handsome." 



Take on him that strict habit ; very that ; — 
When he should turn to angel ; a dying grace ! [will : 
I'll father-in-law you, sir; I'll make [you make] a 
Speak, villain, Where's my daughter ? [Speak, I 

say !] 
Poisoned, I warrant you, or knocked o' the head ! 
And to abuse good Master Weathercock, 
With his forged will ; and Master Weathercock, 
To make 1 my grounded resolution ; 
Then to abuse the De'nshire gentleman: 
Go ; away with him to prison. 
Flow. Wherefore to prison ? Sir, I will not go. 

Enter Master Civet, his Wife, Oliver, Sir Arthur, 
Flowerdale, senior and junior, and Delia. 

Launce. Oh ! here's his uncle ! Welcome, gentle- 
Welcome all ! Such a cozener gentlemen ! 
A murderer too, for anything I know ; — 
My daughter's missing ; hath been looked for ; can 
Be found ! — A vild upon thee ! [not 

Uncle. He is my kinsman, though his life be vile ; 
Therefore, in God's name, do with him what you will. 

Launce. Marry, to prison. 

Flow. Wherefore to prison ? snick-up ; 2 I owe you 

Launce. Bring forth my daugher, then ; away with 

Flow. Go seek your daughter ; what do you lay to 
my charge ? 

Launce. Suspicion of murder ; go, away with him. 

Flow. Murder your dogs ; I murder your daughter ? 
Come, uncle j I know you'll bail me. 

Uncle. Not I, were there no more, 
Than I the gaoler, thou the prisoner. 

Launce. Go ; away with him. 

Enter Luce. 

Luce. O'my life, where will you ha de man ? 
Vat ha de yonker done ? 

Weath. Woman, he hath killed his wife. 

Luce. His wife, dat is not good ; dat is not scone. 3 

Launce. Hang not upon him, huswife ; if you do 
I'll lay you by him. 

Luce. Have me no oder way dan you have him ! 
He tell me dat he love me heartily. 

Frances. Lead away my maid to prison ; why, 
Tom, will you suffer that ? 

Civet. No, by your leave, father, she is no vagrant : 
She is my wife's chambermaid, and as true as the skin 
Between any man's brows here. 

Launce. Go to, you're both fools : 
Son Civet, o' my life, this is a plot ; 
Some straggling counterfeit preferred to you ; 
No doubt, to rob you of your plate and jewels : 
I'll have you led away to prison, trull. 

Luce. I am no trull, neither outlandish frow ; 
Nor he, nor I, shall to the prison go : 
Know you me now ? Nay, never stand amazed. 
Father, I know I have offended you. 
And though that duty wills me bend my knee, 

i To unmake, rather — to mar. 

2 Malone tells us that "snick-up" is equivalent to the 
modern phrase, " go hang yourself." 

3 Not handsome — Nicht-schoon. 

To you, in duty and obedience ; 

Yet this way do I turn, and to him yield 

My love, my duty, and my humbleness. 

Launce. Bastard in nature, kneel to such a slave? 

Luce. 0, Master Flowerdale, if too much grief 
Have not stopped up the organs of your voice, 
Then speak to her that is thy faithful wife ; 
Or doth contempt of me thus tie thy tongue : 
Turn not away, I am no Ethiop, 
No wanton Cressid, nor a changing Helen : 
But rather one made wretched by thy loss. 
What ! turnest thou still from me ? 0, then, 
I guess thee wofullest 'mong hapless men. 

Flow. I am, indeed, wife ; — wonder among wives ! 
Thy chastity and virtue hath infused 
Another soul in me ; red with defame, 
For, in my blushing cheeks is seen my shame. 

Launce. Out, hypocrite ! I charge thee, trust him 

Luce. Not trust him ; by the hopes of after bliss, 
I know no sorrow can be compared to his. 

Launce. Well, since thou wert ordained to beggary, 
Follow thy fortune. I defy thee, I 

OIL Ywood che were so well ydoussed as was ever 
Cloth in tocking mill, an che ha not made me weep. 

Fath. If he hath any grace he'll now repent. 

Arth. It moves my heart. 

Weath. By my troth, I must weep ; I can not 

Uncle. None but a beast would such a maid misuse. 

Flow. Content thyself ; I hope to win his favor, 
And to redeem my reputation lost : 
And gentlemen, believe me, I beseech you ; 
I hope your eyes shall [soon] behold such change, 
As shall deceive your expectation. 

OH. I would che were split now, but che believe 

Launce. How, believe him? 

Weath. By the mackins, I do. 

Launce. What, do you think that ever he'll have 
grace ? 

Weath. By my faith it will go hard. 

OIL Well, che vor ye he is changed ; and Master 
Flowerdale, in hope you been so, hold, there's vorty 
pound toward your zettingup : what ! be not ashamed ; 
vang it man, vang it ; be a good husband ; loving to 
your wife : and you shall not want for vorty more, I 
che vor thee. 

Arth. My means are little, but if you'll allow 4 me, 
I will instruct you in my ablest power: 
But to your wife I give this diamond ; 
And prove true diamond, fair, in all your life. 

Flow. Thanks, good Sir Arthur : Master Oliver, 
You being my enemy, and grown so kind, 
Binds me in all endeavor to restore. 

OIL What ! restore me no restorings, man; I have 
vorty pound more here ; vang it : zouth chil devie 
London else : what, do not think me a mezel or a 
scoundrel, to throw away my money ? che have an 
hundred pound more to pace of any good spotation : 
I hope your under and your uncle will vollow my 

Uncle. You have guessed right of me ; if he leave 
This course of life, he [yet] shall be mine heir, [off 

4 The old copies read, " follow." 



Launce. But he shall never get a groat of me ! 
A cozener, a deceiver; one that killed 
His painful father; honest gentleman, 
That passed the fearful danger of the sea, 
To get him living and maintain him brave. 

Weath. What ! hath he killed his father ? 

Launce. Ay, sir, with, conceit 

Of his vile courses. 

Fath. Sir, - you are misinformed. 

Launce. Why, thou old knave, thou told'st me so 

Fath. I wronged him, then ; toward my master's 
There's twenty nobles for to make amends. [stock 

Flow. No, Kest, I've troubled thee, and wronged 
thee more ; 
What thou in love giv'st, I in love restore. 

Frances. Ha ! ha ! sister, there you played bo-peep 
with Tom ; 
What shall I give her toward her household, sister ? 
Delia, shall I give her my fan ? 

Delia. You were best ask your husband. 

Frances. Shall I, Tom ? 

Civet. Ay, do, Frank ; 
I'll buy thee a new one, with a longer handle. 

Frances. A russet one, Tom? 

Civet. Ay, with russet feathers. 

Frances. Here, sister, there's my fan toward your 
To keep you warm. 1 

Luce. I thank you, sister. 

Weath. Why, this is well ; and toward fair Luce's 
Here's forty shillings : and forty good shillings more, 
I'll give her, marry. Come, Sir Launcelot, I 
Must have you friends. 

Launce. Not I ; all this is counterfeit ! 

He will consume it, were it a million. 

Fath. Sir, what is your daughter's dower worth? 

Launce. Had she been married to an honest man, 
It had been better than a thousand pound. 

Fath. Pay it him, [then] and I'll give you my bond, 
To make her jointure better worth than three. 

Launce. Your bond, sir ! why, what are you ? 

Fath. One whose word in London, though I say it, 
Will pass there for as much as yours. 

Launce. Wert not thou late, that unthrift's serving- 
man ? 

Fath. Look on me better, now my scar is off; 
Ne'er muse, man, at this metamorphosis. 

Launce. Master Flowerdale ! 

Flow. My father ! Oh ! I shame to look on him. 
Pardon, dear father, the follies that are passed. 

Fath. Son, son, I do, and joy at this thy change ; 

1 We must not think too lightly of the gift, toward Luce's 
housekeeping, of the silly sister Frances. Fans were costly 
things at the period of our play. Their handles were of 
considerable length, probably to be used by pages, and were 
of silver, and inlaid with ornaments. 

And 'plaud thy fortune in this virtuous maid, 
Whom Heaven hath sent to thee to save thy soul. 

Luce. This addeth joy to joy; high Heaven be 

Weath. Welcome from death, good Master Flower- 
'Twas said so here, 'twas said so here, good faith. 

Fath. I caused that rumor to be spread myself, 
Because I'd see the humors of my son, 
Which to relate the circumstance is needless : 
And, sirrah, see you run no more in that disease ; 
For he that's once cured of that malady, 
Of riot, swearing, drunkenness, and pride, 
And falls again into the like distress, — 
That fever is deadly; — doth till death, endure: 
Such men die mad, as of a calenture. 

Flow. Heaven helping me, I'll hate the course as 

Uncle. Say it, and do it, cousin, all is well. 

Launce. Well, being in hope you'll prove an honest 
I take you to my favor. Brother Flowerdale, 
Welcome with all my heart. I see your care 
Hath brought these acts to this conclusion, 
And I am glad of it ; come, let's in and feast. 

OH. Nay, zost you a while ; you promised -to make 
Sir Arthur and me amends ; here is your wisest 
Daughter; see which on's she'll have. 

Launce. A' God's name, you have my good will ; 
get hers. 

Oil How say you, then, damsel ; tyters hate ? 

Delia. I, sir, am yours. 

OH. Why, then, send for the vicar, and chil have it 
Despatched in a trice, so chil. 

Delia. Pardon me, sir ; I mean [that] I am yours, 
In love, in duty, and affection ; 
But not to love as wife ; shall ne'er be said, 
Delia was buried married, but a maid. 

Arth. Do not condemn yourself for ever [thus] , 
[Most] virtuous fair ; for you were born to love. 

OH. Why, you say true, Sir Arthur ; she was ybore 
to it, 
So well as her mother : — but I pray you show us 
Some zamples or reasons why you will not marry? 

Delia. Not that I do condemn a married life, 
For 'tis, no doubt, a sanctimonious thing: 
But for the care and crosses of a wife, 
The trouble in this world that children bring, 
My vow's in heaven, on earth to live alone ; 
Husbands, however good, I will have none. 

OIL Why, then, chil live a bachelor too ! Che 
zet not a vig by a wife, if a wife zet not a vig by me : 
come, shall's go to dinner ? 

Fath. To-morrow I crave your companies in Mark- 
To-night we'll frolic in Master Civet's house, [lane : 
And to each health drink down a full carouse. 






The first edition of this play was published in 1602, 
under the title of the " Chronicle History of Thomas 
Lord Cromwell." No name or initials, of any author, 
appear in the titlepage of this edition. " A booke 
called the Life and Death of the Lord Cromwell, as 
yt was lately acted by the Lord Chamberleyn his 
Servantes," was entered on the stationer's books, by 
William Cotton, on the 11th August, of the same 
year. In 1613 appeared " The True Chronicle His- 
toric of the whole Life and Death of Thomas Lord 
Cromwell : as it hath been sundry times publickly 
acted by the King's Majestie's Servants : Written by 
W. S." It appears, therefore, that the play was ori- 
ginally performed, and continued to be performed, 
by the company in which Shakspeare himself was a 
chief proprietor. Whether this fact can make at all, 
either one way or the other, in resolving the question 
of authorship, is a matter which the reader may de- 
cide for himself, quite as readily as if he had the 
assistance of an editor. Shakspeare was in London, 
and connected with the actors, as a proprietor, up to 
1613, the year when this play was first published with 
the initials W. S. ; and we are, therefore, almost at 
liberty to assume that, if not by himself, and by an- 

other having the same initials, he was yet not unwil- 
ling that his theatre should derive from the publica- 
tion all the advantages which might be expected to 
accrue from his supposed authorship of the piece. 

Beyond the initials, in the edition of 1613, there is 
no external evidence whatever, by which we should 
ascribe Sir Thomas Cromwell to William Shakspeare. 
If the question depended upon the intrinsic evidence, 
assuming, for the standards by which to judge of its 
qualities, any of the acknowledged and unquestiona- 
ble plays of his mature genius, we should unhesita- 
tingly reject the claim. There is nothing in the per- 
formance to entitle it, as a production of Shakspeare, 
to the smallest consideration. 

Thomas, Lord Cromwell, is a very feeble effort, 
almost totally deficient in poetry, and lamentably 
wanting as a work of art. The story is disjointed, 
rambling, and purposeless ; and, but for a something 
of sedateness in the thought, occasional passages 
which show good sense, and an appreciation of the 
general characteristics of humanity, with a very tol- 
erable individualization of the persons of the drama, 
it would be wholly without a redeeming feature. 
And yet there are critics who find it in possession 



of considerable merits, which escape our search. 
Schlegel, speaking of this play, of " the Yorkshire 
Tragedy," and of " Sir John Oldcastle," says : 
" They are not only unquestionably Shakspeare's, but, 
in my opinion, they deserve to be classed among his best 
and maturest works." After this judgment, we may 
well hesitate to speak our own. Schlegel proceeds 
to describe them as "biographical dramas,, and 
models in this species." Biographical they are, cer- 
tainly — singularly so, indeed — since, in this play of 
Sir Thomas, we have almost all the events of his life, 
from his earliest manhood to his death, crowded into 
the scene with a rapidity of action which defies all 
reason and probability, and largely overleaps the 
usual privileges of the dramatic historian. But to 
call this play, or either of the others mentioned, 
a model of its kind, betrays a large liberality in 
the critic which we can not conscientiously emu- 
late. Mr. Knight, at the close of his analysis of this 
play, remarks, that " it would be a waste of time to 
attempt to show that Thomas Lord Cromwell could 

not have been written by Shakspeare." Certainly it 
would be, if the question were to depend entirely 
upon the arbitrary requisition of the commentators, 
that Shakspeare's writings must be all of them of a 
uniform excellence, determined by standards drawn 
from our sense of his highest excellences. This, how- 
ever, is not permitted us. But this point we have con- 
sidered in another place. It has been suggested, that 
u W. S." might be the initials of Wentworth Smith, 
another dramatic writer, of whom little is known, 
but for whom this play has never been claimed. 

It remains to add, that the subject of Sir Thomas 
Cromwell is derived from Fuller, Stow, Speed, Hol- 
ingshead, and other English chroniclers. The events 
arc narrated at large, in Fox's Book of Martyrs. 
The particulars relating to Frescobald, the benevo- 
lent Italian, were first published by Bandello, the 
novelist, in 1554 : " Francesco Frescobaldi, fa cortessa 
ad un straniero, e ne ben remeritato, essendo colui 
diuenuto contestabile d'Inghilterra." His story is 
translated by Fox. 




Duke of Norfolk. 

Duke of Suffolk. 

Earl of Bedford. 

Cardinal Wolsey. 

Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester. 

Sir Thomas More. 

Sir Christopher Hales. 

Sir Ralph Sadler. 

Old Cromwell, a blacksmith of Putney. 

Thomas Cromwell, his son. 

Banister, "j 

Bowser, 1 _ - , 

Newton, [Englishmen^*. 

Crosby, J 

Bagot, a money-broker. 

Frescoeald, a Florentine merchant. 

The Governor of the English factory at Antwerp. 

Governor and other officers of Bolognia. 

Master of an hotel in Bolognia. 

Seely, a publican of Hounslow. 

Lieutenant of the Tower. 

Young Cromwell, the son of Thomas. 

Hodge, Will, and Tom, old Cromwell's servants. 

Two Citizens. 

Mrs. Banister. 
Joan, wife to Seely. 

Two Witnesses ; a Sergeant-at-arms ; a Herald ; a 
Hangman ; a Post : Messengers ; Officers ; Ushers, 
and Attendants. 

SCENE, — Partly in London, and the adjoining Dis- 
tricts • partly in Antwerp and Bolognia. 


SCENE I. — Putney. The entrance of a Smith's shop. 
Enter Hodge, Will, and Tom. 

Hodge. Come, masters, I think it be past five o'clock. 
Is it not time we were at work ? My old master, he'll 
be stirring anon. 

Will. I can not tell whether my old master will be 
stirring or no ; but I am sure I can hardly take my 

afternoon's nap, for my young Master Thomas. He 
keeps such a coil in his study, with the sun, and the 
moon, and the seven stars, that I do verily think he'll 
read out his wits. 

Hodge. He skill of the stars ! There's Goodman 
Car of Fulham (he that carried us to the strong ale, 
where Goody Trundel had her maid got with child) : 
0, he knows the stars ; he'll tickle you Charles's 
Wain in nine degrees. That same man will tell Goody 
Trundel when her ale shall miscarry, only by the 

Tom. That's a great virtue, indeed ; I think Thomas 
be nobody in comparison to him. 

Will. Well, masters, come ; shall we to our ham- 

Hodge. Ay, content ; first let's take our morning's 
draught, and then to work, roundly. 

Tom. Ay, agreed. Go in, Hodge. [Exeunt. 

SCENE II.— The same. 

Enter young Cromwell. 

Crom. Good morrow, morn ; I do salute thy bright- 
ness ! 
The night seems tedious to my troubled soul, 
Whose black obscurity breeds 1 in my mind 
A thousand sundry cogitations : 
And now Aurora, with a lively dye, 
Adds comfort to my spirit that mounts high;* 
Too high, indeed, my state being so mean. 
My study, like a mineral of gold, 
Makes my heart proud, wherein my hope's enrolled ; 
My books are all the wealth I do possess, 
And unto them I have engaged my heart. 
Oh, Learning ! how divine thou seem'st to me, — 
Within whose arms is all felicity. 

[ Smiths within hammer. 
Peace with your hammers, leave your knocking there ! 
You do disturb my study and my rest : — 
Leave off, I say : — you mad me with your noise. 

Enter Hodge, Will, and Tom, from within. 

Hodge. Why, how now, Master Thomas, how now , 
Will you not let us work for you ? 
Crom. You fret my heart, with making of this 

1 Old copy, " binds." * Former copies read, " on high." 



Hodge. How ! fret your heart ? Ay, Thomas, but 
you'll fret 
Your father's purse if you let us from working. 

Tom. Ay, this 'tis for to make him a gentleman : 
Shall we leave work for your musing ? That's weD, 

i'faith ; 
But here comes my old master, now 

Enter old Cromwell. 

Old Crom. You idle knaves, why are you loit'ring 
No hammers walking, 1 and my work to do ? 
What, not a heat among your work to-day ? 

Hodge. Marry, sir, your son Thomas will not let us 
work at all. 

Old Crom. Why, knave, I say, have I thus carked 
and cared, 
And all to keep thee like a gentleman ; 
And dost thou let my servants at their work, 
That, sweat for thee, knave — labor thus for thee ? 

Crom. Father, their hammers do offend my study. 

Old Crom. Out of my doors, knave, if thou lik'st 
it not : 
I cry you mercy ; are your ears so fine ? 
I tell thee, knave, these get when I do sleep ; 
I will not have my anvil stand for thee. 

Crom. There's money, father ; I will pay your 
men. [ Throws money among them. 

Old Crom. Have I thus brought thee up unto my 
In hope that one day thou'dst relieve my age, 
And art thou now so lavish of thy coin, 
To scatter it among these idle knaves? 

Crom. Father, be patient, and content yourself: 
The time will come I shall hold gold as trash : 
And here, I speak with a presaging soul, 
To build a palace where this cottage stands, 
As fine as is King Henry's house at Sheen. 

Old Crom. You build a house .' You knave, you'll 
be a beggar ! 
Now, afore God, all is but cast away, 
That is bestowed upon this thriftless lad ! 
Well, had I bound him to some honest trade, 
This had not been ; but 'twas his mother's doing, 
To send him to the university. 

How ? Build a house where now this cottage stands, 
As fair as that at Sheen? — they shall not hear me ! 

A good boy, Tom ; I con thee ; — thank thee, Tom, 
Well said, Tom ; Gramercy to ye, Tom ! 
In to your work, knaves ; hence [thou] saucy boy. 
[Exeunt all but young Cromwell. 

Crom. Why should my birth keep down my mount- 
ing spirit ? 
Are not all creatures subject unto time ; 
To time who doth abuse the cheated world, 
And fills it full of hodge-podge bastardy ? 
There's legions now of beggars on the earth, 
That their original did spring from kings ; 
And many monarchs now, whose fathers were 
The riff-raff of their age ; for time and fortune 
Wear out a noble train to beggary ; 
And from the dunghill, minions 2 do advance 
To state and mark in this admiring world. 
This is but course, which, in the name of fate, 

1 Quere: Working? 

a Quere: Millions? 

Is seen as often as it whirls about. 
The river Thames, that by our door doth pass, 
His first beginning is but small and shallow ; 
Yet, keeping on his course, grows to a sea. 
And likewise Wolsey, the wonder of our age, 
His birth as mean as mine, a butcher's son ; 
Now, who, within this land a greater man ? 
Then, Cromwell, cheer thee up, and tell thy soul, 
That thou may'st live to flourish and control. 

Enter old Cromwell. 

Old Crom. Tom Cromwell; what, Tom, I say! 

Crom. Do you call, sir? 

Old Crom. Here is Master Bowser come to know if 
you have despatched his petition for the lords of the 
council, or no. 

Crom. Father, I have ; please you to call him in. 

Old Crom. That's well said, Tom ; a good lad, 

Enter Master Bowser. 

Bow. Now, Master Cromwell, have you despatched 
this petition ? 

Crom. I have, sir ; here it is ; please you, peruse it. 

Bow. It shall not need ; we'll read't as we go by 
And, Master Cromwell, I have made a motion 
May do you good, an if you like of it. 
Our secretary at Antwerp, sir, is dead, 
And [now] the merchants there have sent to me, 
For to provide a man fit for the place : 
Now, I do know none fitter than yourself, 
If it stand with your liking, Master Cromwell. 

Crom. With all my heart, sir; and I much am 
In love and duty for your kindness shown. 

Old Crom. Body o'me, Tom, make haste, lest some- 
body get between thee and honor, Tom. 3 I thank 
you, good Master Bowser, I thank you for my boy ; 
I thank you always ; I thank you most heartily, sir : 
Ho, a cup of beer here for Master Bowser. 

Bow. It shall not need, sir : Master Cromwell, will 
you go ? 

Crom. I will attend you, sir. 

Old Crom. Farewell, Tom ; God bless thee, Tom ; 
God speed thee, good Tom. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III — London. A Street before Frescobald's 

Enter Bagot. 

Bag. I hope this day is fatal unto some, 
And by their loss must Bagot seek to gain. 
This is the lodge of Master Frescobald, 
A liberal merchant and a Florentine, 
To whom Banister owes a thousand pound ; 
A merchant bankrupt, whose father was my mas- 
What do I care for pity or regard? 
He once was wealthy, but he now is fallen, 
And I this morning have him got arrested 
At suit of this same Master Frescobald ; 
And, by this means, shall I be sure of coin, 
For doing this same good to him unknown : 
And, in good time, see where the merchant comes. 

3 Old copies, " between thee and home." 



Enter Frescobald. 

Good morrow to kind Master Frescobald. 

Fres. Good morrow to yourself, good Master 
Bagot ; 
And what's the news, you are so early stirring? 
It is for gain ; I make no doubt of that. 

Bag. 'Tis for the love, sir, that I bear to you. 
When did you see your debtor, Banister ? 

Fres. I promise you, I have not seen the man 
This two months day ; his poverty is such, 
As I do think he shames to see his friends. 

Bag. Why then assure yourself to see him straight, 
For at your suit I have arrested him, 
And here they will be with him presently. 

Fres. Arrest him at my suit ? You were to blame, 
I know the man's misfortunes to be such, 
As he's not able for to pay the debt ; 
And were it known to some, he were undone. 

Bag. This is your pitiful heart to think it so ; 
But you are much deceived in Banister : 
Why, such as he will break for fashion sake, 
And unto those they owe a thousand pound, 
Pay scarce a hundred. 0, sir, beware of him, 
The man is lewdly given to dice and drabs ; 
Spends all he hath in harlot's companies ; 
It is no mercy for to pity him : 
I speak the truth of him, for nothing else, 
But for the kindness that I bear to you. 

Fres. If it be so, he hath deceived me much, 
And to deal strictly with such a one as he, 
Better severe than too much lenity : 
But here is Master Banister himself, 
And with him, as I take it, [are] the officers. 

Enter Banister, his Wife, and two Officers. 

Ban. 0, Master Frescobald, you have undone me : 
My state was well nigh overthrown before, 
Now, altogether downcast by your means. 

Mrs. Ban. 0, Master Frescobald, pity my hus- 
band's case ; 
He is a man hath lived as well as any, 
Till envious fortune and the ravenous sea 
Did rob, disrobe, and spoil us of our own. 

Fres. Mistress Banister, I envy not your husband, 
Nor willingly would I have used him thus : 
But that I hear he is so lewdly given, 
Haunts wicked company, and hath enough 
To pay his debts, yet will not own 1 thereof. 

Ban. This is that damned broker, that same Bagot, 
Whom I have often from my trencher fed : 
Ungrateful villain for to use me thus. 

Bag. What I have said to him is naught but truth. 

Mrs. Ban. What thou hast said springs from an en- 
vious heart ! 
! cannibal,' 2 that doth eat men alive ! 
But here, upon my knee, believe me, sir ; 
And what I speak, so help me God, is true ! 
We scarce have meat to feed our little babes : 
Most of our plate is in that broker's hand, 
Which, had we money to defray our debts, 
think, we would not bide that penury ! 
Be merciful, kind Master Frescobald; 
My husband, children, and myself will eat 
But one meal a day ; the other, will we keep 

1 Former editions read, " be known thereof." 
* " A cannibal." in other copies. 

And sell ; in pait to pay the debt we owe you. 
If ever tears did pierce a tender mind, 
Be pitiful ; — let me some favor find. 

Fres. Go to ; I see thou art an envious man. — 
Good Mistress Banister, kneel not to me : 
I pray rise up ; you shall have your desire. 
Hold, officers ; begone ; there's for your pains. 

[Exit Officers. 
You know you owe to me a thousand pound ; 

[To Banister. 
Here, take my hand ; if e'er God make you able, 
And place you in your former state again, 
Pay me : but, if still [dark] your fortune frown, 
Upon my faith, I'll never ask a crown. 
I never yet did wrong to men in thrall, 
For God doth know what to myself may fall. 

Ban. This unexpected favor, undeserved, 
Doth make my heart bleed inwardly with joy : 
Ne'er may aught prosper with me as 3 my own, 
If I forget this kindness you have shown. 

Mrs. Ban. My children, in their prayers, both night 
and day, 
For your good fortune and success shall pray. 

Fres. I thank you both ; I pray go dine with me ; 
Within these three days, if God give me leave, 
I will to Florence, to my native home. 
Hold, Bagot, there's a portague 4 to drink, 
Although you ill deserved it by your merit ; 
Give not such cruel scope unto your heart ; 
Be sure, the ill you do will be requited : 
Remember what I say, Bagot ; farewell. 
Come, Master Banister, you shall with me, 
My fare's but simple, but welcome heartily. 

[Exeunt all but Bagot. 

Bag. A plague go with you .' would you had eat 
your last ! 
Is this the thanks T have for all my pains ? 
Confusion light upon you all for me ! 
Where he had wont to give a score of crowns,* 
Doth he now foist me with a portague ? 
Well, I will be revenged upon this Banister. 
I'll to his creditors ; buy the debts he owes, 
As seeming that I do it for good will ; 
I'm sure to have them at an easy rate ; 
And when 'tis done, in Christendom he stays not, 
But I will make his heart to ache with sorrow j — 
And if that Banister become my debtor, 
By heaven and earth, I'll make his plague the greater. 

[Exit Bagot. 


Enter Chorus. 

Cho. Now, gentlemen, imagine that young Crom- 
In Antwerp's lieger r ' for the English merchants ; 
And Banister, to shun this Bagot's hate, 
Hearing that he hath got some of his debts, 
Is fled to Antwerp, with his wife and children ; 
Which, Bagot hearing, is gone after them : 

3 Old editions read " is." 

•* The portague (Fr. portugaist) was a gold coin of Portu- 
gal, worth about £1 10s. sterling. " Score of pounds" may 
be intended ; for, as a correspondent remarks, at £4 10s. a 
portague can not be much less than " a score of crowns.' 1 

5 Lieger — ambassador. 



And thither sends his bills of debt before, 
To be revenged on wretched Banister. 
What doth fall out, with patience sit and see, 
A just requital of false treachery. 

SCENE I. — Antwerp. Cromwell in his study, dis- 
covered at a table, with bags of money before him, and 
books of account. 

Crom. Thus far my reckoning doth go straight and 
But, Cromwell, this same plodding fits not thee ; 
Thy mind is altogether set on travel, 
And not to live thus cloistered, like a nun. 
It is not this same trash, that I regard ; 
Experience is the jewel of my heart. 

Enter a Post (courier). 

Post. I pray, sir, are you ready to despatch me? 

Crom. Yes ; here's those sums of money you must 
You go as far as Frankfort, do you not? 

Post. I do, sir. 

Crom. Well, pr'ythee, then, make all the haste 
thou canst, 
For there be certain English gentlemen 
Are bound for Venice, and may haply want, 
An if that you should linger by the way : 
But in the hope that you will make good speed, 
There are two angels to buy spurs and wands. 1 

Post. I thank you, sir ; this will add wings indeed. 

Crom. Gold is of power to make an eagle's speed. 

Enter Mistress Banister. 

What gentlewoman is this, that grieves so much? 
It seems she doth address herself to me. 

Mrs. Ban. God save you, sir ; is your name Master 
Cromwell ? 

Crom. My name is Thomas Cromwell, gentlewo- 

Mrs. Ban. Know you one Bagot, sir, that's come 
to Antwerp ? 

Crom. No, trust me, I ne'er saw the man ; but here 
Are bills of debt I have received against 
One Banister, a merchant fallen into decay. 

Mrs. Ban. Into decay, indeed, 'long of that wretch ! 
I am the wife to woful Banister, 
And, by that bloody villain am pursued, 
From London, here to Antwerp, where my husband 
Lies in the governor's hands ; the God of Heaven 
He only knows how he will deal with him ! 
Now, sir, your heart is framed of milder temper, 
Be merciful to a distressed soul, 
And God, no doubt, will trebly bless your gain. 

Crom. Good Mistress Banister, what I can, I will, 
In anything that lies within my power. 

Mrs. Ban. O, speak to Bagot, that same wicked 
wretch ; 
An angel's voice may move a damned devil. 

Crom. Why, is he come to Antwerp, as you hear ? 

Mrs. Ban. I heard he landed some two hours since. 

Crom. Well, Mistress Banister, assure yourself, 
I will to Bagot speak in your behalf, 
And win him to all the pity that I can : 

) Wands — switches. 

Meantime, to comfort you, in your distress, 
Receive these angels to relieve your need, 
And, be assured, ihat what I can effect, 
To do you good, no way will I neglect. 

Mrs. Ban. That mighty God that knows each mor- 
tal's heart, 
Keep you from trouble, sorrow, grief, and smart. 

[Exit Mistress Banister. 

Crom. Thanks, courteous woman, for thy hearty 
prayer ! 
It grieves my soul to see her misery ; 
But we that live under the work of fate, 
May hope the best, yet know not to what state 
Our stars and destinies have us assigned ; 
Fickle is fortune, and her face is blind. [Exit. 

SCENE II.— A Street in Antwerp. 

Enter Bagot. 

Bag. So, all goes well ; it is as I would have it ! 
Banister, he is with the governor, 
And shortly shall have gyves upon his heels. 
It glads my heart to think upon the slave ; 
I hope to have his body rot in prison, 
And after hear his wife to hang herself, 
And all his children die for want of food. 
The jewels I have brought with me to Antwerp, 
Are reckoned to be worth five thousand pound, 
Which scarcely stood me in three hundred pound. 
I bought them at an easy kind of rate ; — 
I care not much which way they came by them, 
That sold them me ; it comes not near my heart ; 
And, lest they should be stolen — as sure they are — 
I thought it meet to sell them here in Antwerp; 
And so have left them in the governor's hand, 
Who offers me within two hundred pound 
Of all my price ; — but now, no more of that. — 
I must go see an if my bills be safe, 
The which I sent before to Master Cromwell, 
That, if the wind should keep me on the sea, 
He might arrest him here before I came : 
And, in good time, see where he is : 

Enter Cromwell. 


God save you, sir. 

Crom. And you. — Pray, pardon me, I know you 

Bag. It may be so, sir ; but my name is Bagot ; 
The man that sent to you the bills of debt. 

Crom. Oh, you're the man that pursues Banister* 
Here are the bills of debt you sent to me ; 
As for the man, you best know where he is. 
It is reported you've a flinty heart, 
A mind that will not stoop to any pity ; 
An eye that knows not how to shed a tear, 
A hand that's always open for reward. 
But, Master Bagot, would you be ruled by me, 
You should turn all these to the contrary ; 
Your heart should still have feeling of remorse, 
Your mind, according to your state, be liberal 
To those that stand in need and in distress ; 
Your hand to help them that do sink in want, 
Rather than with your poise to hold them down ; — 
For every ill turn, show yourself more kind : — 
Thus should I ; pardon me, I speak my mind. 

Bag. Ay, sir, you speak to hear what I would say ; 



But you must live, I know, as well as I. 

I know this place to be extortionate, 

And 'tis not for a man to keep safe here, 

But he must lie ; cog with his dearest friend, 

And, as for pity, scorn it ; hate all conscience : 

But yet I do commend your wit in this, 

To make a show of what I hope you are not ; — 

But 1 commend you, and it is well done : 

This is the only way to bring you gain. 

Crom. Gain ! I had rather chain me to an oar, 
And, like a slave, there toil out all my life, 
Before I'd live so base a slave as thou. 
Ay, like a hypocrite, to make a show 
Of seeming virtue, and a devil within ! 
No, Bagot, if thy conscience were as clear. 
Ne'er had poor Banister been troubled here. 

Bag. Nay, Master Cromwell, be not angry, sir ; 
I know full well that you are no such man, 
But if your conscience were as white as snow, 
It will be thought that you are otherwise. 

Crom. Will it be thought [that] I am otherwise ? 
Let them that think so, know they are deceived ; 
Shall Cromwell live to have his faith misconstr'ed? 
Antwerp, for all the wealth within thy town, 
I will not stay here full two hours longer. 
As good luck serves, my accounts are all made even, 
Therefore, I'll straight unto the treasurer. 
Bagot, I know you'll to the governor : 
Commend me to him ; say I'm bound to travel, 
To see the fruitful parts of Italy ; 
And if you ever bore a Christian mind, 
Let Banister some favor of you find. 

Bag. For your sake, sir, I'll help him all I can — 
To starve his heart out e'er he gets a groat — [aside.] 
So Master Cromwell, do I take my leave, 
For I must straight unto the governor. 

Crom. Farewell, sir ; pray remember what I've 
said. [Exit Bagot. 

No, Cromwell, no ; thy heart was ne'er so base, 
To live by falsehood or by brokery. 
But it falls out well ; — I little it repent ; 
Hereafter, time in travel shall be spent. 

Enter Hodge. 

Hodge. Your son Thomas, quoth you? I have been 
Thomas'd. 1 had thought it had been no such matter 
to ha' gone by water ; for at Putney I'll go you to Par- 
ish Garden for two pence ; sit as still as may be, with- 
out any wagging or jolting in my guts, in a little boat, 
too : here, we were scarce some four mile in the 
great green water, but I, thinking to go to my after- 
noon's nuncheon, 1 as was my manner at home, felt a 
kind of rising in my guts. At last, one o' the sailors 
spying of me, — " Be o'good cheer," says he ; " set 
down thy victual, and up with it ; thou hast nothing 
but an eel in thy belly." — Well, to't I went, and to 
my victuals went the sailors ; and, thinking me to be 
a man of better experience than any in the ship, they 
asked me what wood the ship was made of? They all 
swore I told them as right as if I had been acquainted 
with the carpenter that made it. At last, we grew 
near land, I grew vilbinous hungry, and went to my 
bag. The devil a bit there was ; the sailors had 
tickled me ; yet I can not blame them ; it was a part 
of kindness, for I in kindness told them what wood 

1 Luncheon. 

the ship was made of, and they in kindness eat up 
my victuals ; as, indeed, one good turn asketh another. 
Well, would I could find my Master Thomas, in this 
Dutch town ! — he might put some English beer into 
my belly. 

Crom. What, Hodge, my father's man ! by my 
hand, welcome : 
How doth my father ? What's the news at home ? 

Hodge. Master Thomas ! O God, Master Thomas ! 
your hand — glove and all ! this is to give you to un- 
derstand that your father is in health ; and Alice 
Downing here hath sent you a nutmeg ; and Bess 
Make- water a race of ginger ; my fellows Will and 
Tom, have, between them, sent you a dozen of points, 
and Goodman Toll, of the Goat, a pair of mittens ; 
myself came in person, and this is all the news. 

Crom. Gramercy, Hodge, and thou art welcome to 
But in as ill a time thou comest as may be ; [me, 

For I am travelling into Italy : — 
What say'st thou, Hodge, wilt bear me company ? 

Hodge. AVill I bear thee company, Tom ? What 
tell'st me of Italy ? Were it to the farthest part of 
Flanders, I would go with thee, Tom. I am thine 
all, in weal and wo, thine own to command. What, 
Tom, I have passed the rigorous waves of Neptune's 
blasts. I tell you, Thomas, I have been in danger of 
the floods ; and when I have seen Boreas begin to 
play the ruffian with us, then would I down on my 
knees, and call upon Vulcan. 

Crom. And why upon him? 

Hodge. Because, as this same fellow Neptune, is 
god of the seas, so Vulcan is lord over the smiths, 
and therefore, I, being a smith, thought his godhead 
would have some care yet of me. 

Crom. A good conceit ; but tell me, hast thou 
dined yet? 

Hodge. Thomas, to speak the truth, not a bit yet I. 

Crom. Come, go with me, thou shalt have cheer 
good store ; 
And farewell, Antwerp, if I come no more. 

Hodge. I follow thee, sweet Tom; I follow thee. 


SCENE III. — Another Street in the same. 

Enter the Governor of the English Factory ; Bagot, 
Mr. and Mrs. Banister, and two Officers. 

Gov. Is Cromwell gone, then, say you, Master 
What the dislike, I pray ? What was the cause ? 

Bag. To tell you true, a wild brain of his own ; 
Such youth as he can't see when they are well : 
He is ail bent to travel — that's his reason — 
And doth not love to eat his bread at home. 

Gov. Well, good fortune with him if the man be 
We hardly shall find such a man as he, 
To fit our turns ; his dealings were so honest. 
But now, sir, for your jewels that I have, — 
What do you say ? what, will you take my price ? 

Bag. 0, sir, you offer too much under foot. 

Gov. 'Tis but two hundred pound between us, man, 
What's that, in payment of five thousand pound ? 

Bag. Two hundred pound, by'rlady, sir, 'tis great j 
Before I got so much it made me sweat. 

Gov. Well, Master Bagot, I'll proffer you fairly. 
You see this merchant, Master Banister, 



Is going now to prison at your suit : 

His substance all is gone ; what would you have ? 

Yet, in regard I knew the man in 1 wealth, 

Never dishonest dealing, but such mishaps 

Hath fallen on him, may light on me or you : — 

There is two hundred pound between us two ; 

We will divide the same ; I'll give you one, 

On that condition you will set him free. 

His state is nothing ; that you see yourself ; 

And where naught is, the king must lose his right. 

Bag. Sir, you speak out of your love ; [but know] 
'Tis foolish love, sir, sure to pity him. 
Therefore content yourself, this is my mind ; 
To do him good, I will not bate a penny. 

Ban. This is my comfort, though thou dost no 
A mighty ebb follows a mighty flood. 

Mrs. Ban. 0, thou base wretch, whom we have 
Even as a serpent, for to poison us ! 
If God did ever right a woman's wrong, 
To that same God I bend and bow my heart, 
To let his heavy wrath fall on thy head, 
By whom my hopes and joys are butchered. 

Bag. Alas, fond woman, I pr'ythee pray thy worst, 
The fox fares better still, when he is cursed. 

Enter Bowser. 

Gov. Master Bowser ! you're welcome, sir, from 
What's the best news ? and how do all our friends ? 
Bow. They are all well, and do commend them to 
There's letters from your brother and your son : 
So, fare you well, sir, I must take my leave, 
My haste and business do require it so. 

Gov. Before you dine, sir ? What, go you out of 

town ? 
Bow. I'faith, unless I hear some news in town, 
I must away ; there is no remedy. 

Gov. Master Bowser, what is your business ? — may 

I know it ? 
Bow. You may, sir, and so shall all the city. 
The king of late hath had his treasury robbed, 
And of the choicest jewels that he had ; 
The value of them was seven thousand pound, 
The fellow that did steal these jewels is hanged, 
And did confess that, for three hundred pound, 
He sold them to one Bagot, dwelling in London : 
Now Bagot's fled, and, as we hear, to Antwerp ; 
And hither am I come to seek him out ; 
And they that first can tell me of his news, 
Shall have a hundred pound for their reward. 
Ban. How just is God to right the innocent ! 
Gov. Master Bowser, you come in happy time, 
Here is the villain Bagot that you seek, 
And all those jewels have I in my hands. — 
Here, officers, look to him, hold him fast. 

Bagot. The devil owed me a shame, and now hath 

paid it. 
Bow. Is this that Bagot? Fellows, bear him hence, 
We will not now stand here for his reply ; 
Lade him with irons, we will have him tried 
In England, where his villanies are known. 
Bag. Mischief, confusion, light upon you all ! 

i The old copies read, " of wealth." 

0, hang me, drown me, let me kill myself; 
Let go my arms, let me run quick to hell. 
Bow. Away ; bear him away ; stop the slave's 
mouth. [Exeunt Officers, with Bagot. 

Mrs. Ban. Thy works are infinite, great God of 

Heaven ! 
Gov. I heard this Bagot was a wealthy fellow. 
Bow. He was indeed ; for when his goods were 
Of jewels, coin, and plate, within his house, 
Was found the value of five thousand pound, 
His furniture worth fully half so much ; 
Which, being all distrained for the king, 
He frankly gave it to the Antwerp merchants ; 
And they again, out of their bounteous mind, 
Have, to a brother of their company, 
A man decayed by fortune of the seas, 
Given Bagot's wealth, to set him up again, 
And keep it for him ; his name's Banister. 

Gov. Good Master Bowser, with this happy news, 
You have revived two from the gates of death, 
This is that Banister, and this his wife. 

Bow. Sir, I am glad my fortune is so good, 
To bring such tidings as may comfort you. 

Ban. You have given life unto a man deemed dead ; 
For by these news, my life is newly bred. 

Mrs. Ban. Thanks to my God, next to my sovereign 
And last to you that these good news do bring. 

Gov. The hundred pound I must receive, as due 
For finding Bagot, I freely give to you. 

Bow. And, Master Banister, if so you please, 
I'll bear you company, when you cross the seas. 
Ban. If it please you, sir, my company is but 
mean : 
Stands with your liking, 2 I will wait on you. 

Got'. I am glad that all things do accord so well : 
Come, Master Bowser, let us in to dinner ; 
And Mistress Banister, be merry, woman. 
Come, after sorrow now let's cheer your spirit, 
Knaves have their due, and you but what you merit. 



SCENE I. — The principal Bridge at Florence. 

Enter Cromwell and Hodge in their shirts, and with- 
out hats. 

Hodge. Call you this seeing of fashions? Marry 
would I had stayed at Putney still. Oh .' Master 
Thomas, we are spoiled, we are gone. 

Crom. Content thee, man ; this is but fortune. 

Hodge. Fortune ! a plague of this fortune ; it makes 
me go wet-shod ; the rogues would not leave me a 
shoe to my feet : for my hose, they scorned them 
with their heels ; but for my doublet and hat, 0, 
Lord — they embraced me and unlaced me, and took 
away my clothes, and so disgraced me ! 

Crom. Well, Hodge, what remedy ? 
What shift shall we make now ? 

Hodge. Nay, I know not. For begging I am naught, 

2 Stands with your liking. Elliptical for "If it stands," 
&c. — Percy. 



for stealing worse : by my troth I must even fall to 
my old trade ; to the hammer and the horse-heels 
again j but now, the worst is, I am not acquainted 
with the humor of the horses in this country ; whether 
they are not coltish ; given much to kicking or no : 
for when I have one leg in my hand, if he should up 
and lay t'other on my chaps, I were gone ; there 
lay I, there lay Hodge. 

Crom. Hodge, I believe thou must work for us 

Hodge. 0, Master Thomas, have not I told you of 
this ? Have not I, many a time and often, said, " Tom, 
or Master Thomas, learn to make a horse-shoe ; it 
will be your own another day :" this was not regarded. 
Hark you, Thomas, what do you call the fellows that 
robbed us ? 

Crom. The banditti. 

Hodge. The banditti, do you call them ? I know 
not what they are called here, but 1 am sure we will 
call them plain thieves in England. O, Tom, that we 
were now at Putney, at the ale there. 

Crom. Content thee, man ; — here set up these two 
And let us keep our standing on the bridge : 
The fashion of this country still is such, 
If any stranger be oppressed with want, 
To write the manner of his misery ; 
And such as are disposed to succor him, 
Will do it. What, Hodge, hast thou set them up ? 

Hodge. Ay, they are up ; God send some to read 
them, and not only to read them, but also to look on 
us ; and not altogether look on us, but relieve us. 
Oh ! cold, cold, cold ! 

[Cromwell stands at one end of the bridge, 
and Hodge at the other. 

Enter Frescobald. 

Frescobald. [reads]. What's here? 
Two Englishmen robbed by the banditti ? 
One of them seems to be a gentleman, 
'Tis pity that his fortune was so hard, 
To fall into the desperate hands of thieves ! — 
I'll question him of what estate he is. 
God save you, sir, are you an Englishman ? 

Crom. I am, sir, a distressed Englishman. 

Fres. And what are you, my friend ? 

Hodge. Who I, sir? By my troth, I do not know 
myself, what I am now ; but, sir, I was a smith, sir ; 
a poor farrier of Putney. That's my master, sir, 
yonder ; I was robbed for his sake, sir. 

Fres. I see you have been met by the banditti, 
And therefore need not ask how came you thus : 
But, Frescobald, why dost thou question them 
Of their estate, and not relieve their need ? 
Sirs, — the coin I have about me is not much ; 
There's sixteen ducats for to clothe yourselves, 
There's sixteen more to buy your diet with, 
And there's sixteen to pay for your horse-hire: 
'Tis all the wealth you see, my purse possesses ; 
But if you please for to inquire me out, 
You shall not want for aught that I can do. 
My name is Frescobald, a Florence merchant : 
A man that always loved your nation much. 

Crom. This,unexpected favor at your hands, — 
Which God doth know, if e'er I shall requite, 
Necessity makes me to take your bounty, 

And for your gold can yield you naught but thanks. 
Your charity hath helped me from despair ; 
Your name shall still be in my hearty prayer. 

Fres. It is not worth such thanks: come to my 
house ; 
Your want shall better be relieved than thus. 

Crom. I pray excuse me ; this shall well suffice, 
To bear my charges to Bolognia, 
Whereat a noble earl is much distressed ; — 
An Englishman, Russel, the earl of Bedford, 
Is by the French king sold unto his death. 
It may fall out that I may do him good: 
To save his life, I'll hazard my heart's blood: 
Therefore, kind sir, thanks for your liberal gift, 
I must be gone to aid him ; there's no shift. 

Fres. I'll be no hinderer to so good an act, 
Heaven prosper you, in that you go about : 
If fortune bring you this way back again, 
Pray let me see you ; so I take my leave ; 
All a good man can wish, I do bequeath. 

[Exit Frescobald. 

Crom. All good that God doth send, light on your 
head ; 
There's few such men within our climate bred. 
How say you now, Hodge ? is not this good fortune ? 

Hodge. How say you ? I'll tell you what, Master 
Thomas ; if all men be of this gentleman's mind, let's 
keep our stand upon this bridge : we shall get more 
here, with begging, in one day, than I shall with 
making horseshoes in a whole year. 

Crom. No, Hodge, we must be gone unto Bolognia, 
There to relieve the noble earl of Bedford ; 
Where, if I fail not in my policy, 
I shall deceive their subtle treachery. 

Hodge. Nay, I'll follow you. God bless us from 
the thieving banditti again. [Exeunt. 

SCENE II. — Bolognia. A Room in an Hotel. 
Enter Bedford and his Host. 

Bed. Am I betrayed ? was Bedford born to die, 
By such base slaves, in such a place as this ? 
Have I escaped so many times in France, 
So many battles have I over-passed, 
And made the French stir when they heard my name ; 
And am I now betrayed unto my death ? 
Some of their heart's blood first shall pay for it. 

Host. They do desire, my lord, to speak with 

Bed. The traitors do desire to have my blood, 
But by my birth, my honor, and my name, — 
By all my hopes, my life shall cost them dear. 
Open the door ; I'll venture out upon them, 
And, if I must die, then I'll die with honor. 

Host. Alas, my lord, that is a desperate course ; 
They have begirt you, round about the house. 
Their meaning is to take you prisoner, 
And so to send your body unto France. 

Bed. First shall the ocean be as dry as sand, 
Before alive they send me unto France : 
I'll have my body first bored like a sieve, 
And die as Hector, 'gainst the Myrmidons, 
E'er France shall boast, Bedford's their prisoner. 
! treacherous France, that, 'gainst the law of arms, 
Hath here betrayed thine enemy to death .' 
But, be assured, my blood shall be revenged 
Upon the best lives that remain in France. 



Enter a Servant. 

Stand back, or else thou runn'st upon thy death. 

Mes. Pardon, my lord, I come to tell your honor, 
That they have hired a Neapolitan, 
Who, by his oratory, hath promised them, 
Without the shedding of one drop of blood, 
Into their hands, safe to deliver you ; 
And therefore craves, none but himself may enter, 
And a poor swain that doth attend on him. 

Bed. A Neapolitan ? bid him come in. 

[Exit Servant. 
Were he as cunning in his eloquence, 
As Cicero, the famous man of Rome, 
His words would be as chaff against the wind. 
Sweet-tongued Ulysses, that made Ajax mad, 
Were he ; — and his tongue in this speaker's head, 
Alive he wins not ; 'tis no conquest, dead ! 

Enter Cromwell, in Neapolitan habit, and Hodge. 

Cram. Sir, are you the master of the house ? 

Host. I am, sir. 

Crom. By this same token you must leave this 
And leave none but the earl and I together, [place, 
And this, my peasant, here to tend on us. 

Host. With all my heart : God grant you do some 

[Exit Host. Cromwell shuts the door. 

Bed. Now, sir, what's your will with me ? 

Crom. Intends your honor not to yield yourself? 

Bed. No, goodman goose, not while my sword doth 
Is this your eloquence for to persuade me? [last. 

Crom. My lord, my eloquence is for to save you j 
I am not, as you judge, a Neapolitan, 
But Cromwell, your servant, and an Englishman. 

Bed. How ! Cromwell ? not my farrier's son ? 

Crom. The same, sir; and am come to succor you. 

Hodge. Yes, faith, sir, and I am Hodge, your poor 
smith ; many a time and oft have I shoed your dap- 
ple gray. 

Bed. And what avails it me, that thou art here ? 

Crom. It may avail, if you'll be ruled by me. 
My lord, you know, the men of Mantua 
And these Bolognians are at deadly strife 
And they, my lord, both love and honor you. 
Could you but get out of the Mantua port, 
Then were you safe, despite of all their force. 

Bed. Tut, man, thou talk'st of things impossible ; 
Dost thou not see, that we are round beset ? 
How then is't possible we should escape ? 

Crom. By force we can not, but by policy. 
Put on the apparel here that Hodge doth wear, 
And give him yours : the states they know you not, — 
For, as I think, they never saw your face, — 
And, at a watch-word, must I call them in, 
And will desire, that we two safe may pass 
To Mantua, where 111 say my business lies ; 
How doth your honor like of this device ? 

Bed. 0, wondrous good : but wilt thou venture, 
Hodge ? 

Hodge. Willi? 

Oh, noble lord, I do accord, 

In anything I can ; 
And do agree to set thee free, 
Do fortune what she can. 

Bed. Come, then, and change [wc] our apparel 

Crom. Go, Hodge, make haste, lest they should 
chance to call. 

Hodge. I warrant you, I'll fit him with a suit. 

[Exeunt Bedford and Hodge. 

Crom. Heaven grant this policy doth take success, 
And that the earl may safely 'scape away ! 
And yet it grieves me for this simple wretch, 
For fear lest they should do him violence ! 
But of two evils best to shun the greatest, 
And better is't that he should live in thrall, 
Than such a noble earl as this should fall. 
Their stubborn hearts, it may be, will relent, 
Since he is gone, on whom their hate is bent. 

Re-enter Bedford and Hodge. 

My lord, have you despatched ? 

Bed. How dost thou like us, Cromwell? — is it 

Crom. 0, my good lord, excellent. Hodge, how 
dost feel thyself? 

Hodge. How do I feel myself? why, as a noble 
man should do ! Oh ! how I feel honor come creeping 
on ; my nobility is wonderful melancholy. Is it not 
most gentlemanlike to be melancholy ? 

Crom. Yes, Hodge ; now go [and] sit down in thy 
And take [thy] state upon thee. [study, 

Hodge. I warrant you, my lord; let me alone to 
take state upon me : but hark, my lord, do you feel 
nothing bite about you ? 

Bed. No, trust me, Hodge. 

Hodge. Ay, they know they want their old pasture. 
'Tis a strange thing of this vermin, they dare not 
meddle with nobility. 

Crom. Go take thy place, Hodge, while I call them 
All is now done. Enter, an if you please. [in. 

[Speaking within. 

Enter the Governor, and other States and Citizens of 
Bolognia, and Officers with halberds. 

Gov. What, have you won him ? will he yield him- 

Crom. I have, an't please you ; and the quiet earl 
Doth yield himself to be disposed by you. 

Gov. Give him the money that we promised him : 
So let him go, whither he please himself. 

Crom. My business, sir, lies unto Mantua ; 
Please you to give me a safe conduct thither. 

Gov. Go and conduct him to the Mantua port, 
And see him safe delivered presently. 

[Exeunt Cromwell, Bedford, and Officers. 
Go, draw the curtains, let us see the earl : 
O, he is writing, stand apart awhile. 

Hodge, [reads] . Fellow William, I am not as I have 
been. I went from you a smith ; I write to you as a 
lord : I am at this present writing, among the Bono- 
nian sausages. I do commend my lordship to Ralph 
and to Roger ; to Bridget and to Dorothy, and so to 
all the youth of Putney. 

Gov. Sure these are names of English noblemen, 
Some of his special friends to whom he writes : 
But stay, he doth address himself to sing. 

[Hodge sings a song. 
My lord, I 'm glad you are so frolic and blithe ; 
Believe me, noble lord, if you knew all, 
You'd change your merry vein to sudden sorrow. 

Hodge. I change my merry vein? no, thou Bono- 
nian, no j 



I am a lord, and therefore let me go ; 

I do defy thee and thy sausages : 

Therefore stand off, and come not near my honor. 

Gov. My lord, this jesting can not serve your turn. 

Hodge. Dost think, thou black Bononian beast, 
That I do flout, do jibe, or jest ? 
No, no, thou bear-pot ; know that I, 
A noble earl, a lord par-dy. [A trumpet sounds. 

Gov. What means this trumpet's sound ? 
Enter a Messenger. 

Cit. One is come hither from the states of Mantua. 

Gov. What would you with us ? Speak, thou man 
of Mantua ! 

Mess. Men of Bolognia, this my message is, 
To let you know the noble earl of Bedford 
Is safe within the town of Mantua, 
And wills you send the peasant that you have, 
Who hath deceived your expectation ; 
Or else the states of Mantua have vowed 
They will recall the truce that they have made, 
And not a man shall stir from forth your town, 
That shall return, unless you send him back. 

Gov. 0, this misfortune, how it mads my heart ! 
The Neapolitan hath beguiled us all. 
Hence with this fool. What should we do with him, 
The earl being gone ? A plague upon it all ! 

Hodge. No, I'll assure you, I am no earl, but a 
smith, sir — 
One Hodge, a smith at Putney, sir ; one that hath 
Gulled you ; that hath bored you, sir. 

Gov. Away with him ; take hence the fool you 
came for. 

Hodge. Ay, sir. I leave the greater fool with you. 

Mess. Farewell, Bolognians. 1 Come, friend, along 
with me. 

Hodge. My friend, afore ; my lordship will follow 
thee. [Exit. 

Gov. Well, Mantua, since by thee the earl is lost, 
Within few days I hope to see thee crost. [Exeunt. 

Enter Chorus. 

Cho. Thus far you see how Cromwell's fortune 
The earl of Bedford, being safe in Mantua, 
Desires Cromwell's company into France, 
To make requital for his courtesy : 
But Cromwell doth deny the earl his suit, 
And tells him that those parts he meant to see, 
He had not yet set footing on the land : 
And so directly takes his way to Spain — 
The earl to France — and so they both do part. 
Now, let your thoughts, as swift as is the wind, 
Skip some few years that Cromwell spent in travel : 
And now imagine him to be in England, 
Servant unto the master of the rolls ; 
Where, in short time, he there began to flourish : 
An hour shall show you what few years did cherish. 

SCENE III. — London. A Room in Sir Christopher 
Hales' House. Music plays ; then a Banquet. En- 
ter Sir Christopher Hales, Cromwell, and two 

Hales. Come, sirs, be careful of your master's 
credit ; 

1 I should be for giving this affectionate parting apostro- 
phe to Hodge, and the rest of the line to the messenger. 

And as our bounty now exceeds the figure 
Of common entertainment, so do you, 
With looks as free as is your master's soul, 
Give formal welcome to the thronged tables 
That shall receive the cardinal's followers 
And the attendants of the great lord chancellor. 
But, Cromwell, all my care depends on thee : 
Thou art a man, differing from vulgar form, 
And by how much thy spirit's ranked 'bove these, 
In rules of art, by so much it shines brighter 
By travel, whose observance pleads thy 2 merit, 
In a most learned yet unaffected 3 spirit. 
Good Cromwell, cast an eye of fair regard 
'Bout all my house — and what this ruder flesh, 
Through ignorance, or wine, do miscreate, 
Salve thou with courtesy : if welcome want, 
Full bowls and ample banquets will seem scant. 

Crom. Sir, whatsoever lies in me, assure you 
I will show my utmost duty. 

[Exit Cromwell. 

Hales. About it, then ; the lords will straight be 
Cromwell, thou hast those parts would rather suit 
The service of the state than of my house : 
I look upon thee with a loving eye, 
That one day will prefer thy destiny. 

Enter Messenger. 

Mess. Sir, the lords be at hand. 
Hales. They are welcome ; bid Cromwell straight 
attend us, 
And look you all things be in readiness. 

The Music plays. Enter Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thom- 
as More, Gardiner, Cromwell, and Attendants. 

Wol. 0, Sir Christopher, 
You are too liberal : what, a banquet too ? 

Hales. My lords, if words could show the ample 
That my free heart affords you, I could then 
Become a prater : but I now must deal 
Like a feast-politician with your lordships ; 
Defer your welcome till the banquet end, 
That it may then salve our defect of fare : 
Yet welcome now, and all that tend on you. 

Wol. Our thanks to the kind master of the rolls. 
Come and sit down ; — sit down, Sir Thomas More. 
'Tis strange how that we and the Spaniard differ : 
Their dinner is our banquet, after dinner, 
And they are men of active disposition. 
This I gather, that, by their sparing meat, 
Their bodies are more fitter for the wars ; 
And if that famine chance to pinch their maws, 
Being used to fast, it breeds in them less pain. 

Hales. Fill me some wine ; I'll answer Cardinal 
Wolsey : — 
My lord, we English are of more free souls 
Than hunger-starved and ill-complexioned Spaniards. 
They that are rich, in Spain, spare belly-food, 
To deck their backs with an Italian hood, 
And silks of Seville : and the poorest snake, 
That feeds on lemons, pilchards, and ne'er heated 
His palate with sweet flesh, will bear a case 
More fat and gallant than his starved face. 

2 Elsewhere it reads, " his merit." 

3 Other editions, " unaffecting." 


Pride, the inquisition, and this belly-evil, 

Are, in my judgment, Spain's three-headed devil. 1 

More. Indeed, it is a plague unto their nation, 
Who stagger after in blind imitation. 

Hales. My lords, with welcome, 3 1 present your lord- 
A solemn health. [ships 

More. I love healths well, but when that healths 
do bring 
Pain to the head, and body's surfeiting, 
Then cease 1 healths : 

Nay, spill not, friend, for though the drops be small, 
Yet have they force, to force men to the wall. 
Wol. Sir Christopher, is that your man ? 
Hales. An it like 

Your grace, he is a scholar and a linguist — 
One that hath travelled over many parts 
Of Christendom, my lord. 

Wol. My friend, come nearer. Have you been a 

traveller ? 
Crom. My lord, 
I've added to my knowledge the Low Countries, 
With France, Spain, Germany, and Italy: 
And though small gain of profit I did find, 
Yet did it please my eye, content my mind. 

Wol. What do you think, then, of the several states 
And princes' courts that you have travelled [through] ? 
Crom. My lord, no court with England may com- 
Neither for state, nor civil government : 
Lust dwells in France, in Italy, and Spain, 
From the poor peasant to the prince's train ; 
In Germany and Holland, riot serves, 
And he that most can drink, he most deserves. 
England I praise not, for I here was born, 
But that she laughs the others all to scorn. 

Wol. My lord, there dwells within that spirit more 
Than can be discerned by the outward eye. 
Sir Christopher, will you part with your man ? 
Hales. I have sought to proffer him unto your lord- 
And now I see he hath preferred himself. 
Wol. What is thy name ? 
Crom. Cromwell, my lord. 

Wol. Then, Cromwell, here we make thee of our 
Solicitor, and nearest next ourself. 
Gardiuer, give you kind welcome to the man. 

[Gardiner embraces him. 
More. Oh, my lord cardinal, you're a royal winner : 
Have got a man, besides your bounteous dinner : 
Well may you pray, knight, that we come no more — 
If we come often, thou may'st shut thy door. 

Wol. Sir Christopher, hadst thou given me half thy 
Thou couldst not have pleased me so much as with 
This man of thine. My infant thoughts do spell, 
Shortly, his fortune shall be lifted higher ; 
True industry doth kindle honor's fire, 
And so, kind master of the rolls, farewell. 
Hales. Cromwell, farewell. 

Crom. Cromwell takes leave of you 

That ne'er will leave to love and honor you. [Exeunt. 

[ The music plays as they go out. 

i The philosophy of Hales is more decidedly true than 
that of Wolsey. John Bull owes much of his lighting 
propensity to his beef. 

a " With welcome" — with permission. 


Enter Chorus. 

Cho. Now Cromwell's highest fortunes do begin. 
Wolsey, that loved him as he did his life, 
Committed all his treasure to his hands. 
Wolsey is dead ; and Gardiner, his man, 
Is now created bishop of Winchester. 
Pardon, if we omit all Wolsey's life, 
Because our play depends on Cromwell's death. 
Now sit and see his highest state of all, 
His height of rising, and his sudden fall. 
Pardon the errors are already past, 
And live in hope the best doth come at last : 
My hope upon your favor doth depend, 
And looks to have your liking ere the end. [Exit. 

SCENE I.— The same. A public Walk. 

Enter Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, Me Dukes of 
Norfolk and Suffolk, Sir Thomas More, Sir Chris- 
topher Hales, and Cromwell. 

Norf. Master Cromwell, since Cardinal Wolsey's 
His majesty is given to understand [death, 

There's certain bills and writings in your hand 
That much concern the [present] state of England. 
My lord of Winchester, is it not so ? 

Gar. My lord of Norfolk, we two were whilome 
And Master Cromwell — though our master's love 
Did bind us, while his love was to the king — 
It is no boot now to deny those things 
Which may be prejudicial to the state : 
And though that God hath raised my fortune higher 
Than any way I looked for, or deserved, 
Yet may my life no longer with me dwell, 
Than I prove true unto my sovereign. 

Sujf. What say you, Master Cromwell ? Have you 
[Speak !] ay or no ? [those writings ? 

Crom. Here are the writings, and upon my knees 
I give them up unto the worthy dukes 
Of Suffolk and of Norfolk. 
He was my master, and each virtuous part 
That lived in him I tendered with my heart ; 
But what his head complotted 'gainst the state, 
My country's love commands me that to hate. 
His sudden death I grieve for, not his fall, 
Because he sought to work my country's thrall. 

Suff. Cromwell, the king shaB. hear of this thy 
Who, I assure myself, will well reward thee, [duty, 
My lord, let's go unto his majesty, 
And show these writings which he longs to see. 

[Exeunt Norfolk and Suffolk. 

Enter Bedford hastily. 

Bed. How now ? who is this ? Cromwell ? By my 
Welcome to England ! Thou didst save my life, 
Didst thou not, Cromwell ? 

Crom. If I did so, 'tis greater glory 
For me [my lord], that you remember it, 
Than for myself [now] vainly to report it. 

Bed. Well, Cromwell, now's the time [for grati- 
I shall commend thee to my sovereign : [tude :] 

Cheer up thyself, for I will raise thy state ; 
A Russell yet was never found ingrate. [Exit. 



Hales. how uncertain is the wheel of state I 1 
Who lately greater than the cardinal, 
For fear and love ? And now who lower lies ? 
Gay honors are but fortune's flatteries ; 
And whom, this day, pride and promotion 2 swell, 
To-morrow envy and ambition quell. 

More. Who sees the cobweb tangle the poor fly, 
May boldly say the wretch's death is nigh. 

Gar. I know his state and proud ambition 
Were too, too violent to last o'er long. 

Hales. Who soars too near the sun with golden 
Melts them ; — to ruin his own fortune brings. 

Enter the Duke of Suffolk. 
Suff. Cromwell, kneel down, and, in King Henry's 
Arise, Sir Thomas ; — thus begins thy fame, [name, 

Enter the Duke of Norfolk. 

Norf. Cromwell, the gracious majesty of England, 
For the good liking he conceives of thee, 
Makes thee the master of the jewel-house ; 
Chief secretary to himself ; and, withal, 
Creates thee one of his highness' privy council. 

Enter the Earl of Bedford. 

Bed. Where is Sir Thomas Cromwell? Is he 
knighted ? 

Suff. He is, my lord. 

Bed. Then, to add honor to 

His name, the king creates him lord keeper of 
His privy seal, 3 and master of the rolls — 
Which you, Sir Christopher, do now enjoy :* 
The king determines higher place for you. 

Crom. My lords, 
These honors are too high for my desert. 

More. 0, content thee, man, who would not choose 
Yet thou art wise in seeming to refuse it. [it ? 

Gar. Here are honors, titles, and promotions ! 
I fear this climbing will have sudden fall. [Aside.] 5 

Norf. Then come, my lords, let's all together bring 
This new-made counsellor to England's king. 

[Exeunt all but Gardiner. 

Gar. But Gardiner means his glory shall be dimmed ! 
Shall Cromwell live a greater man than I ? 
My envy with his honor now is bred : 
I hope to shorten Cromwell by the head. [Exit. 

1 We should probably read it " fate" with more propriety 
— fate in the sense of fortune. 

2 Some of the editions read, " pride and ambition," but I 
see no reason to disturb the text. 

3 The rise of Cromwell to the highest honors of the state 
was certainly sudden, but not quite so rapid as the author 
has represented. In 1531, he was made a privy counsellor 
and master of the jewel-house ; and the nest year clerk of 
the hanaper and chancellor of the exchequer ; in 1534, prin- 
cipal secretary of state and master of the rolls. The follow- 
ing year he was appointed vicar-general over all the spiritu- 
alities in England, under the king ; on the 2d of July, 1536, 
lord keeper of the privy seal ; and, soon afterward, he was 
advanced to the dignity of a baron. In 1537, he was created 
knight of the garter ; and, in 1540, earl of Essex and lord 
high chamberlain of England.— Malone. Mr. Malone has 
been at great and unnecessary pains to show that our drama- 
tist was not also a chronologist. 

* The fact was exactly the reverse of what is here stated. 
Cromwell's predecessor in this office was not Sir Christo- 
pher Hales, but Dr. Taylor ; and Hales (who was the king's 
attorney-general) succeeded Cromwell in the rolls ; not, how- 
ever, immediately on his advancement to the office of keeper 
of the privy seal. — Malone. 

6 I add this stage direction, which seems necessary, and 
is appropriate. 

SCENE II. — London. A Street "before Cromwell's 

Enter Frescobald. 

Fres. O Frescobald ! what shall become of thee ? 
Where shalt thou go, or whither shalt thou turn? 
Fortune, that turns her too-inconstant wheel, 
Hath drowned 6 thy wealth and riches in the sea. 
All parts abroad, wherever I have been, 
Grow weary of me, and deny me succor ; 
My debtors, they that should relieve my want, 
Forswear my money — say they owe me none : 
They know my state too mean to bear out law ; 
And here, in London, where I oft have been, 
And have done good to many a wretched man, 
Am 7 now most wretched and despised myself. 
In vain it is more of their hearts to try : 
Be patient, therefore, lay thee down and die ! 

[Lies down. 
Enter Seely and Joan. 

Seely. Come, Joan ; come, let's see what he'll do 
for us now. I wis we have done for him, when many 
a time and often he might have gone a hungry to bed. 

Wife. Alas! man, now he is made a lord, he'll nev- 
er look upon us ; he'll fulfil the old proverb : Set beg- 
gars a horseback, and they'll ride ! Ah ! well-a-day 
for my cow ! Such as he hath made us come behind- 
hand : we had never pawned our cow else to pay our 

Seely. Well, Joan, he'll come this way: and by 
God's dickers, I'll tell him roundly of it ; an if he 
were ten lords, he shall know that I had not my 
cheese and my bacon for nothing. 

Wife. Do you remember, husband, how he would 
mounch upon my cheese-cakes ? He hath forgot this 
now ; but now we'll remember him. 

Seely. Ay, we shall have now three flaps with a fox- 
tail : but i'faith I'll jibber a joint, 7 but I'll tell him 
his own. Stay, who comes here ? 0, stand up ; here 
he comes ; stand up. 

Enter Hodge, with a tip-staff ; Cromwell, with the 
mace carried before him ; the Dukes of Norfolk and 
Suffolk, and Attendants. 

Hodge. Come, away with these beggars here. Rise 
Sirrah ; come out, good people. Run before, [up, 
There, ho ! [Frescobald rises and stands aloof. 

Seely. Ay, we are kicked away now, now we come 
for our own ; the time hath been, he would a looked 
more friendly upon us. And you, Hodge, we know 
you well enough, though you are so fine. 

Crom. Come hither, sirrah ; stay, what men are 
My honest host of Hounslow, and his wife ? [these ? 
I owe thee money, father, do I not ? 

Seely. Ay, by the body of me, dost thou : would 
thou wouldst pay me ; good four pound it is : I have 
the post o't at home. 

Crom. I know 'tis true. Sirrah, give him ten an- 
And look your wife and you do stay to dinner. 8 [gels ; 
And while you five, I freely give to you 
Four pound a year, for the four pound I owed you. 

6 " Turned," is the old reading. 7 " And" in other copies. 

8 Jeopard a joint— that is, risk a limb, for my object. 

9 Stowe says (quoted by Malone) that he had himself " of- 
ten seen at Lord Cromwell's gate more than two hundred 
persons served twice every day with bread, meat, and drink, 



Seely. Th'art not changed ; th'art old Tom still ! — 
Now, God bless thee, good Lord Tom ! Home, Joan, 
home ; HI dine with my Lord Tom to-day, and thou 
shalt come next week. Fetch my cow ; home, Joan, 

Wife. Now, God bless thee, my good Lord Tom ! 
Fetch my cow presently. [I'll 

[Exit Joan. 

Enter Gardiner. 

Crom. Sirrah, go to yon stranger : tell him I 
Desire him stay to dinner : I must speak 
With him. [To Hodge. 

Gar. My lord of Norfolk, see you this same bubble ? 
That's a mere puff; 1 but mark the end, my lord ; 
But mark the end ! 

Norf. I promise you, I like not something he hath 
done ; 
But let that pass ; the king doth love him well. 

Crom. Good-morrow to my lord of Winchester : 
You bear me hard about the abbey lands. 

Gar. Have I not reason, when religion 's wronged ? 
You had no color for what you have done. 

Crom. Yes, the abolishing of Antichrist, 
And of his popish order, from our realm. 
I am no enemy to religion, 
But what is done, it is for England's good. 
What did they serve for, but to feed a sort 
Of lazy abbots and of full-fed friars ? 
They neither plough nor sow, and yet they reap 
The fat of all the land, and suck the poor. 
Look, what was theirs is in King Henry's hands : 
His wealth before lay in the abbey lands. 

Gar. Indeed, these things you have alleged, my 
When, God doth know, the infant yet unborn 
Will curse the time the abbeys were pulled down. 
I pray now where is hospitality ? 
Where now may poor distressed people go, 
For to relieve their need, or rest their bones, 
When weary travel doth oppress their limbs ? 
And where religious men should take them in, 
Shall now be kept back by a mastiff-dog ; 

And thousand, thousand 

Norf. my lord, no more ; 

Things past redress 'tis bootless to complain. 
Crom. What, shall we to the convocation-house? 
Norf. We' 11 follow you, my lord ; pray, lead the 

Enter old Cromwell, in the dress of a Farmer. 

Old Crom. How ! one Cromwell made lord keeper 
since I left Putney and dwelt in Yorkshire ? I never 
heard better news : I'll see that Cromwell, or it shall 
go hard. 

Crom. My age'd father here ! State set aside. 
Father, upon my knee I crave your blessing. 
One of my servants go and have him in ; 
At better leisure will we talk with him. 

Old Crom. Now if I die, how happy were the day ! 
To see this comfort, weeps and rains forth showers 
of joy. [Exit old Cromwell 

with Servant. 

Norf. This duty in him shows a kind of grace. 


i In the old editions it reads, " That same puff." 

Crom. Go on before, for time draws on apace. 

[Exeunt all but Frescobald. 

Fres. I wonder what this lord would have with me, 
His man so strictly gave me charge to stay ? 
I never did offend him to my knowledge. 
Well, good or bad, I mean to bide it all ; 
Worse than I am now, never can befall. 

Enter Banister and his Wife. 

Ban. Come, wife, 1 take it be almost dinner-time ; 
For Master Newton and Master Crosby sent to me 
Last night, they would come dine with me [to-day] , 
And take their bond in. — Pray thee, hie thee home, 
And see that all things be in readiness. 

Mrs. Ban. They shall be welcome ; husband, I'll 
But is not that man Master Frescobald ? [before. 

[ She runs and embraces him. 
Ban. Heavens ! it is kind Master Frescobald. 
Say, sir, what hap hath brought you to this pass ? 
JFres. The same that brought you to your misery. 
Ban. Why would you not acquaint me with your 
Is Banister, your poor friend, then forgot, [state ? 
Whose goods, whose love, whose life and all, are 
Fres. I thought your usage would be as the rest, 
That had more kindness at my hands than you, 
Yet looked askance when as they saw me poor. 

Mrs. Ban. If Banister could bear so base a heart, 
I ne'er would look my husband in the face, 
But hate him as I would a cockatrice. 

Ban. And well thou might'st, should Banister so 
Since that I saw you, sir, my state is mended : 
And, for the thousand pound I owe to you, 
I have it ready for you, sir, at home ; 
And though I grieve your fortune is so bad. 
Yet, that my hap's to help you. makes me glad. 
And now, sir, will it please you walk with me ? 

jFres. Not yet ; I can not : for the lord chancellor 
Hath here commanded me to wait on him ; 
For what, I know not : pray God it be for good. 

Ban. Never make doubt of that ! I'll warrant you ! 
He is as kind and noble a gentleman 
As ever did possess the place he hath. 

Mrs. Ban. My brother is his steward, sir ; if you 
We'll go along and bear you company ; 
I know we shall not want for welcome there. 

Fres. With all my heart ! But what's become of 

Bagot ? 
Ban. He is hanged for buying jewels of the king's. 
Fres. A just reward for one so impious ! 
The time draws on, sir ; will you go along ? 
Ban. I'll follow you, kind Master Frescobald. 


SCENE III.— The same. Another Street. 

Enter Newton and Crosby. 

New. Now, Master Crosby, I see you have a care 
To keep your word, in payment of your money. 

C7-os. By my faith, I have some reason on a bond : 
Three thousand pounds is far too much to forfeit j 
Yet do I doubt not Master Banister. 

New. By my faith, sir, your sum is more than mine ; 
And yet I am not much behind you, too, 
Considering what to-day I paid at court. 



Cros. Mass, and 'tis well remembered ! What's the 
That the Lord Cromwell's men wear such long skirts 
Upon their coats ? They reach down to their hams. 

New. I will resolve you, sir ; and thus it is : 
The bishop of Winchester, that loves not Cromwell — 
As great men are envied as well as less — 
A while ago there was a jar between them, 
And it was brought to my Lord Cromwell's ear, 
That Bishop Gardiner would sit on his skirts ; 
Upon which word he made his men long blue coats, 
And, in the court, wore one of them himself: 
And, meeting with the bishop — quoth he, My lord, 
Here's skirts enough now for your grace to sit on : 
Which vexed the bishop to the very heart. 
This is the reason why they wear these long coats. 1 

Cros. 'Tis always seen, and mark it for a rule, 
That one great man will envy still another ; 
But 'tis a thing that nothing concerns me. 
What, shall we now to Master Banister? 

New. Ay, come, we'll pay him royally for our din- 
ner. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. — A Room in Cromwell's House. 

Enter the Usher and the Sewer. 3 Servants cross the 
Stage with Dishes in their hands. 

Usher. Uncover, there, gentlemen. [To Attendants. 

Enter Cromwell, Bedford, Suffolk, old Cromwell, 
Frescobald, Seely, and Attendants. 

Crom. My noble lords of Suffolk and of Bedford, 
Your honors are welcome to poor Cromwell's house. 
Where is my father ? Nay, be covered, father ; 
Although that duty to these noble men 
Doth challenge it, yet I'll make bold with them. 
Your head doth bear the calendar of care : 
What ! Cromwell covered, and his father bare ? 
It must not be. — Now, sir, to you : is not 
Your name Frescobald, and a Florentine ? 

Fres. My name was Frescobald, till cruel fate 
Did rob me of my name and of my state. 

Crom. What fortune brought you to this country 
now ? 

Fres. All other parts have left me succorless, 
Save only this. Because of debts I have, 
I hope to gain for to relieve my want. 

Crom. Did you not once, upon your Florence bridge, 
Help a distressed man, robbed by the banditti ? 
His name was Cromwell. 

Fres. I never made my brain 

i Whatever might have been the reason, the fact is as here 
represented. Stowe, who tells us that he remembered Crom- 
well's household, says that the skirts of his yeomen in livery 
were large enough for his friends to sit upon them.— Ma- 
lone. Is not this story of the bishop sitting on his skirts 
told of the difference between the duke of Buckingham and 
Cardinal Wolsey ?— Percy. The story told of the duke of 
Buckingham and Cardinal Wolsey is somewhat different. 
The duke one day. holding a basin for the king to wash, as 
soon as his majesty had done, the cardinal dipped his hands 
in the same water. The duke, resenting this as an indigni- 
ty, spilled some of the water in Wolsey's shoes, with which, 
the cardinal being provoked, threatened him that he would 
sit on his skirts. Buckingham, the next day, came to court 
very richly dressed, but without skirts to his doublet, assign- 
ing, as a reason, to the king, for this strange omission, his 
purpose to prevent Wolsey from executing his threat 

* The sewer, or shewer, was the officer in ancient times 
who set and removed the dishes, and tasted them. 

A calendar of any good I did ; 

I always loved this nation with my heart. 

Crom. I am that Cromwell that you there relieved. 
You gave me, for to clothe me, sixteen ducats, 
Sixteen to bear my charges by the way, 
And sixteen more I had for my horse-hire. 
There be those several sums justly returned ; 
Yet 'twere injustice, serving at my need, 
For to repay thee without interest : 
Therefore receive of me these several bags ; 
In each of them there are four hundred marks ; 
And bring to me the names of all your debtors. 
And if they will not see you paid, I will. 
0, God forbid that I should see him fall, 
That helped me in my greatest need of all. 
Here stands my father that first gave me life — 
Alas ! what duty is too much for him ? 
This man in time of need did save my life — 
I therefore can not do too much for him. 
By this old man I oftentimes was fed, 
Else might I have gone supperless to bed. 
Such kindness have 1 had of these three men, 
That Cromwell no way can repay agen. 
Now, in to dinner, for we stay too long, 
And, to good stomachs, there's no greater wrong. 


SCENE V. — A Room in the. Bishop of Winchester's 

Enter Gardiner and Servant. 

Gar. Sirrah, where be those men I caused to stay ? 

Ser. They do attend your pleasure, sir, within. 

Gar. Bid them come hither, and stay you without ; 

[Exit Servant. 
For, by these men the fox of this same land, 
That makes a goose of better than himself, 
Must worried be even to his latest home, 
Or Gardiner will fail in his intent. 
As for the dukes of Suffolk and of Norfolk, 
Whom I have sent for, to come speak with me, 
Howsoever outwardly they shadow it, 
Yet in their hearts I know they love him not. 
As for the earl of Bedford, he's but one, 
And dares not gainsay what we do set down. 

Enter the two Witnesses. 

Now, my good friends, you know I saved your lives, 
When by the law you had deserved death ; 
And then you promised me, upon your oaths, 
To venture both your lives to do me good. 

Both Wit. We swore no more than that we will 

Gar. I take your words ; and that which you must 
Is service for your God and for your king : [do, 

To root a rebel from this flourishing land — 
One that's an enemy unto the church ; 
And therefore must you take your solemn oaths 
That you heard Cromwell, the lord chancellor, 3 

3 Cromwell was never lord chancellor. It is with equal 
impropriety that he is called lord keeper in a previous 
scene, and represented with the mace borne before him. It 
is by confounding the great and privy seal that the dramatist 
fell into his error. The charge brought against him by the 
bishop of wishing a dagger in the king's heart, is pure inven- 
tion. Gardiner was his enemy, and contributed to his down- 
fall, but he was neither the only nor the principal enemy. 
Cromwell's ruin was due to several causes — the jealousy of 



Did wish a dagger at King Henry's heart : 
Fear not to swear it, for I heard him speak it ; 
Therefore will shield you from ensuing harms. 

Both. Wit. If you will warrant us the deed is good, 
We'll undertake it. 

Gar. Kneel down, and I will here ahsolve you both. 
This crucifix 1 I lay upon your heads, 
And sprinkle holy water on your brows : 
The deed is meritorious that you do, 
And by it shall you purchase grace from Heaven. 

1 Wit. Now, sir, we'll undertake it, by our souls ! 

2 Wit. For Cromwell never loved one of our sort. 
Gar. I know he hath not ; and, for both of you, 

I will prefer you to some place of worth. 
Now get you in, until I call for you, 
For presently the dukes mean to be here. 

[Exeunt Witnesses. 
Cromwell, sit fast ; thy time's not long to reign : 
The abbeys that were pulled down by thy means, 
Are now a mean for me to pull thee down ; 
Thy pride thy own head also lights upon, 
For thou art he hath changed religion. 
But now no more, for here the dukes are come. 

Enter Suffolk, Norfolk, and tlw Earl of Bedford. 

Suff. Good-even to my lord bishop. 

Norf. How fares my lord ? what, are you all alone ? 

Gar. No, not alone, my lords ; my mind is troubled : 
I know your honors muse wherefore I sent, 
And in such haste. What, came you from the king ? 

No7f. We did, and left none but Lord Cromwell 
with him. 

Gar. 0, what a dangerous time is this we five in ! 
There's Thomas Wolsey — he's already gone ; 
And Thomas More — he followed after him ; 
Another Thomas yet there doth remain, 
That is far worse than either of those twain ; 
And if with speed, my lords, we not pursue it, 
I fear the king and all the land will rue it. 

Bed. Another Thomas ? Pray God, it be not Crom- 
well ! 

Gar. My lord of Bedford, 'tis that traitor Crom- 

Bed. Is Cromwell false ? My heart will never think 

Suff. My lord of Winchester, what likelihood, 
Or proof, have you, of this his treachery ? 

Gar. My lord, too much. Call in the men within. 

Enter the Witnesses. 

These men, my lord, upon their oaths affirm 
That they did hear Lord Cromwell, in his garden, 
Wishing a dagger sticking at the heart 
Of our King Henry ; — what is this but treason ? 

Bed. If it be so. my heart doth bleed with sorrow. 

Suff. How say you, friends ? What, did you hear 
these words ? 

1 Wit. We did, an't like your grace. 

Norf. In what place was Lord Cromwell when he 
spake them ? 

the nobility, the subversion of the monasteries, and not least, 
the king's aversion to Anne of Cleves, and his desire to mar- 
ry Catherine Howard, niece to the duke of Norfolk, who 
was Cromwell's chief assailant. — Note of Malone, abridged. 

1 It is supposed that, before the Reformation, the English 
bishops wore a small crucifix hanging to their outward gar- 
ments, as in popish countries the bishops do at this day. 


2 Wit. In his garden, where we did attend a suit, 
Which we had waited for two years and more. 
Suff. How long is't since you heard him speak 

these words ? 
2 Wit. Some half a year since. 
Bed. How chance that you concealed it all this 


1 Wit. His greatness made us fear ; that was the 


Gar. Ay, ay, his greatness, that's the cause indeed : 
And to make his treason here more manifest, 
He calls his servants to him round about, 
Tells them of Wolsey's life, and of his fall: 
Says that himself hath many enemies ; 
And gives to some of them a park, or manor ; 
To others, leases ; lands to other some. 
What need he do this in his prime of life, 
An if he were not fearful of his death ? 

Suff. My lord, these likelihoods are very great. 

Bed. Pardon me, lords, for I must needs depart ; 
Their proofs are great, but greater is my heart. 

[Exit Bedford. 

Norf. My friends, take heed of that which you 
have said : 
Your souls must answer what your tongues report : 
Therefore, take heed ; be wary what you do. 

2 Wit. My lord, we speak no more but truth, 
Norf. Let them depart, 2 my lord of Winchester ; 

Let these men be close kept, 
Until the day of trial. 

Gar. They shall, my lord. Ho ! take in these two 
men. [Exeunt Witnesses, &c. 

My lords, if Cromwell have a public trial, 
That which we do is void by his denial : 
You know the king will credit none but him. 

Norf. 'Tis true ; he rules the king even as he 

Suff. How shall we do for to attach him, then ? 

Gar. Marry, thus, my lord ; by an act he made 
With an intent to entrap some of our lives — 
And this it is : If any counsellor 
Be convicted of high-treason, he shall 
Be executed without public trial. 
This act, my lords, he caused the king to make. 

Suff. He did, indeed, and I remember it ; 
And now 'tis like to fall upon himself. 

Norf. Let us not slack it ; 'tis for England's good j 
We must be wary, else he'll go beyond us ! 

Gar. Well hath your grace said, my good lord of 
Therefore let us to Lambeth presently : [Norfolk, 
Thither comes Cromwell from the court to-night : 
Let us arrest him, send him to the Tower, 
And, in the morn, cut off the traitor's head. 

Norf. Come, then, about it ; let us guard the town ; 
This is the day that Cromwell must go down. 

Gar. Along, my lords. Well, Cromwell is half 
He shook my heart, but I will shear his head ! 


2 "Let them depart," in one breath, and "let them be 
kept," in another, denotes a gross corruption of the passage. 
" Set them apart," would be the probable reading, were it 
not that Norfolk has no motive or desire to purge their tes- 
timony. Perhaps the true reading should be — 

" Let them be kept, my lord of Winchester, 
Close, till the day of trial." 




SCENE I. — A Street in London. 

Enter Bedford. 

Bed. My soul is like a water [greatly] troubled ; 
And Gardiner is the man that makes it so. 
0, Cromwell, I do fear thy end is near ! 
Yet I'll prevent their malice if I can : 
And, in good time, see where the man doth come, 
Who little knows how near's his day of doom. 

Enter Cromwell with his train ; Bedford makes as 
though he would speak to him ; Cromwell goes on. 

Crom. You're well encountered, my good lord of 
Bedford : 
I see your honor is addressed to talk : — 
Pray, pardon me ; I am sent for to the king, 
And do not know the business yet myself: — 
So fare you well, for I must needs be gone. 

[Exit Cromwell, $c. 

Bed. [Be gone] you must ; well, what [the] reme- 
I fear too soon you must be gone indeed. [dy ? 

The king hath business ; — little dost thou know 
Who's busy for thy life : thou think'st not so. 

Re-enter Cromwell, attended. 

Crom. The second time well met, my lord of Bed- 
I am very sorry that my haste is such ; [ford : 

Lord Marquis Dorset being sick to death, 
I must receive of him the privy seal. 
At Lambeth, soon, my lord, we'll take our fill. 


Bed. How smooth and easy is the way to death ! 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. My lord, the dukes of Norfolk and of Suffolk, 
Accompanied with the bishop of Winchester, 
Entreat you to come presently to Lambeth, 
On earnest matters that concern the state. 

Bed. To Lambeth ! so : go fetch me pen and ink ; 
I and Lord Cromwell there shall talk enough : 
Ay, and our last, I fear, an if he come. [Writes. 

Here, take this letter — bear it to Lord Cromwell : 
Bid him to read it ; say't concerns him near ; 
Away ! begone ! make all the haste you can. 
To Lambeth do I go, a woful man. [Exeunt. 

SCENE II. — A Street near the Thames. 

Enter Cromwell, attended 

Crom. Is the barge ready ? I will straight to Lam- 
And, if this one day's business once were past, 
I'd take my ease to-morrow, after trouble. 

Enter Messenger. 

How now, my friend, what, wouldst thou speak with 
Mess. Sir, here's a letter from my lord of Bedford. 
[Messenger gives letter. Cromwell 
puts it in his pocket. 
Crom. good, my friend, commend me to thy lord : 
Hold, take these angels ; drink them for thy pains. 

Mess. He doth desire your grace to read it [straight], 
Because he says it doth concern you near. 

Crom. Bid him assure himself of that: farewell; 
To-morrow, tell him, he shall hear from me. — 
Set on before there, and away to Lambeth. 


SCENE III. — Lambeth. 

Enter Gardiner, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedford, Lieu- 
tenant of the Tower, Sergeant-at-arms, Herald, and 

Gar. Halberts, stand close unto the water-side, 
Sergeant-at-arms, be you bold in your office ; 
Herald, deliver [now] your proclamation. 

Her. This is to give notice to all the king's subjects, 
the late Lord Cromwell, lord chancellor of England, 
vicar-general over the realm, him to hold and esteem 
as a traitor, against the crown and dignity of England. 
So, God save the king ! 

Gar. Amen. 

Bed. Amen, and [may God] root thee from the land, 
For, whilst thou livest, the truth can never stand. 

Nor. Make a lane there, the traitor is at hand. 
Keep back Cromwell's men : 
Drown them if they come on. Sergeant, your office ! 

Enter Cromwell, attended. The Halberdiers make a 

Crom. What means my lord of Norfolk by these 
Sirs, come along. [words ? 

Gar. Kill them, if they come on. 

Ser. Lord Thomas Cromwell, in King Henry's 
I do arrest your honor of high treason. [name, 

Crom. Sergeant, me of treason ! 

[Cromwell's Men offer to draw. 

Suff. Kill them, if they draw a sword. 

Crom. Hold, I charge you, 

As you love me, [friends,] draw not a sword, 
Who dares accuse Cromwell of treason now? 

Gar. This is no place to reckon up your crime, 
Your dove-like looks were viewed with serpent's eyes. 

Crom. With serpent's eyes, indeed, if i thine they 
But, Gardiner, do thy worst ; I fear thee not. [were. 
My faith compared with thine, as much shall pass, 
As doth the diamond [still] excel the glass : 
Attached of treason, no accusers by, 
Indeed ! what tongue dares speak so foul a lie? 

Norf. My lord, my lord, matters are too well known, 
And it is time the king had note thereof. 

Crom. The king, let me go to him, face to face, 
No better trial I desire than that. 
Let him but say that Cromwell's faith was feigned, 
Then let my honor, and my name be stained ; 
If e'er my heart against the king was set, 
O let my soul in judgment answer it ! 
Then, if my faith's confirmed with his reason, 
'Gainst whom hath Cromwell then committed treason ? 

Suff. My lord, your matter shall be [quickly] tried, 
Meantime, with patience [pray] content yourself. 

Crom. Perforce, I must with patience be content: 
0, dear friend Bedford, dost thou stand so near ? 
Cromwell rejoiceth, one friend sheds a tear : 
And whither is't ? Which way must Cromwell now ? 

1 " By thine," in former copies. 


Gar. My lord, you must unto the Tower : lieutenant, 
Take him into your charge. 

Crom. Well, where you please ; but yet, before I 
Let me confer a little with my men. [part, 

Gar. Ay, as you go by water, so you shall. 
Crom. I have some business present to impart. 
Norf. You may not stay : lieutenant, take your 


Crom. Well, well, my lord, you second Gardiner's 

Norfolk, farewell ! thy turn will be the next. [text. 

[Exeunt Cromwell and the Lieutenant. 

Gar. His guilty conscience makes him rave, my 

Norf. Ay, let him talk ; his time is short enough. 
Gar. My lord of Bedford, come ; you weep for him, 
That would not shed a [single] tear for you. 
Bed. It grieves me for to see his sudden fall 
Gar. Such success wish I unto traitors all. 

SCENE IV.— London. A Street. 

Enter two Citizens. 

1 Cit. Why ? can this news be true ? is't possible ? 
The great Lord Cromwell 'rested for high treason, 
I hardly will believe it can be so. 

2 Cit. It is too true, sir ; would't were otherwise, 
Condition I spent half the wealth I have. 
I was at Lambeth, saw him there arrested, 
And afterward committed to the Tower. 

1 Cit. What, was't for treason that he was commit- 


2 Cit. Kind noble gentleman ! I may rue the time : 
All that I have, I did enjoy by him ; 

And, if he die, then all my state is gone. 

1 Cit. It may be hoped, sir, that he shall not die, 
Because the king did favor him so much. 

2 Cit. 0, sir, you are deceived in thinking so : 
The grace and favor he had with the king, 
Hath caused him have so many enemies : 

He that in court secure will keep himself, 
Must not be great, for then he is envied at. 
The shrub is safe, when as the cedar shakes ; 
For where the king doth love above compare, 
Of others, they as much more envied are. 

1 Cit. 'Tis pity that this nobleman should fall, 
He did so many charitable deeds. 

2 Cit. 'Tis true ; and yet you see, in each estate, 
There's none so good, but some one doth him hate ; 
And they before would smile him in the face, 
Will be the foremost to do him disgrace. 

What, will you go along unto the court? 

1 Cit. I care not if I do, and hear the news, 
How men will judge what shall become of him. 

2 Cit. Some men will speak him hardly, some will 
Go you to the court ? I'll go into the city : [pity. 
There I am sure to hear more news than you. 

1 Cit. Why then we soon will meet again. Adieu. 


SCENE V.— A Room in the Tower. 

Enter Cromwell. 

Crom. Now, Cromwell, hast thou time to meditate, 
And think upon thy state, and of the time. 
Thy honors came unsought, ay, and unlooked for ; 
Thy fall is sudden, and unlooked for, too. 
What glory was in England that I had not? 

Who in this land commanded more than Cromwell? 

Except the king, who greater than myself? 

But now I see, what after-ages shall. 

More great the men, more sudden is their fall. 

And now I do remember, th' earl of Bedford 

Was very desirous for to speak to me ; 

And afterward sent unto me a letter, 

The which I think I still have in my pocket ; 

Now may I read it, for I now have leisure, 

And this, I take't, it is. [He reads the letter. 

My lord, come not this night to Lambeth, 
For if you do, your state is overthrown ; 
And much I doubt your life, an if you come : 
Then, if you love yourself, stay where you are. 

God, had I but read this [friendly] letter, 
Then had I been free from the lion's paw : 
Deferring this to read until to-morrow, 

1 spurned at joy, and did embrace my sorrow. 

Enter the Lieutenant of the Tower, Officers, $c. 

Master lieutenant, when's this day of death? 

Lieu. Alas, my lord, would I might never see it ! 
Here are the dukes of Suffolk and of Norfolk, 
Winchester, Bedford, and Sir Richard Radcliff, 
With others still ; — but why they come I know not. 

Crom. No matter wherefore ; Cromwell is prepared. 
For Gardiner has my life and state ensnared. 
Bid them come in, or you shall do them wrong, 
For here stands he, who some think, lives too long; — 
Learning kills learning, and, instead of ink 
To dip his pen, Cromwell's heart-blood doth drink. 

Enter the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk ; the Earl 
of Bedford, Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, 
Sir Richard Radcliff, and Sir Ralph Sadler. 

Norf. Good-morrow, Cromwell. What, so sad? 
Crom. One good among you, none of you are bad : 
For my part, it best fits me be alone ; 
Sadness with me, not I with any one. 
Have you the king acquainted with my cause ? 
Norf. We have, and he hath answered us, my lord. 
Crom. How shall I come to speak with him myself? 
Gar. The king is so advertised of your guilt, 
He'll by no means admit you to his presence. 

Crom. No way admit me ! am I so soon forgot ? 
Did he but yesterday embrace my neck, 
And say that Cromwell was even half himself? 
And are his princely ears so much bewitched 
With scandalous ignominy, and slanderous speeches, 
That now he doth deny to look on me ? 
Well, lord of Winchester, no doubt but you 
Are much in favor with his majesty, 
Wilt bear a letter from me to his grace ? 

Gar. Pardon me, I'll bear no traitor's letters. 
Crom. Ha, will you do this kindness then, to tell 
By word of mouth, what I shall say to you ? 
Gar. That will I. 

Crom. But, on your honor will you ? 
Gar. Ay, on my honor. 
Crom. Bear witness, lords. — 
Tell him, when he hath known you, 
And tried your faith but half so much as mine, 
He'U find you to be the falsest-hearted man 
[Living] in England : pray [you] tell him this. 
Bed. Be patient, good my lord, in these extremities 



Crom. My kind and honorable lord of Bedford, 
I know your honor always loved me well : 
But, pardon me, this still shall be my theme ; 
Gardiner's the cause makes Cromwell's so extreme. 
Sir Ralph Sadler, I pray a word with you ; 
You were my man, and all that you possess 
Came by my means : sir, to requite all this, 
Say, will you take this letter here of me, 
And give it with your own hands to the king ? 

Sad. I kiss your hand, and never will I rest, 
Ere to the king this be delivered. [Exit Sadler. 

Crom. Why then hath Cromwell yet one friend in 

Gard. But all the haste he makes shall be but vain ; 
Here's a discharge, sir, for your prisouer, 
To see him executed presently : 
My lord, you hear the tenure of your life. 

Crom. I do embrace it ; welcome my last date, 
And of this glistering world I take last leave ; 
And, noble lords, I take my leave of you. 
As willingly I go to meet with death, 
As Gardiner did pronounce it with his breath : 
From treason is my heart as white as snow, 
My death procured only by my foe : 
I pray commend me to my sovereign king, 
And tell him in what sort his Cromwell died, 
To lose his head before his cause was tried ; 
But let his grace, when he shall hear my name, 
Say only this ; — Gardiner procured the same. 

Enter young Cromwell. 

Lieut. Here is your son, sir, come to take his leave. 

Crom. To take his leave? Come hither, Harry 
Cromwell ; 
Mark, boy, the last words that I speak to thee; 
Flatter not fortune, neither fawn upon her ; 
Gape not for state, yet lose no spark of honor ; 
Ambition, like the plague see thou eschew it ; 
I die for treason, boy, and never knew it ; 
Yet, let thy faith as spotless be as mine, 
And Cromwell's virtues in thy face shall shine : 
Come, go along and see me leave my breath, 
And I'll leave thee upon the floor of death. 

Son. father, I shall die to see that wound, 
Your blood being spilt will make my heart to swound. 

Crom. How, boy, not dare to look upon the axe ? 
How shall I do then, to have my head struck off? 
Come on, my child, and see the end of all, 
And after say, that Gardiner was my fall. 

Gar. My lord, you speak it of an envious heart, 
I have done no more than law and equity. 

Bed. O, my good lord of Winchester, forbear ; 
'Twould better have beseemed you to be absent, 
Than, with your words, disturb a dying man. 

Crom. Who, me, my lord ? no : he disturbs not me ; 
My mind he stirs not, though his mighty shock 
Hath brought more peers' heads down unto the block. 
Farewell, my boy ; all Cromwell can bequeath, 
My hearty blessing ! — so, I take my leave. 

Hang. I am your deathsman ; pray, my lord, for- 
give me. 

Crom. Even with my soul ! why, man, thou art my 
And bring'st me precious physic for my soul ; 
My lord of Bedford, I desire of you, 
Before my death, a corporal embrace. 

[Cromwell embraces him. 
Farewell, great lord ; my lord, 1 I do commend 
My heart to you ; my soul to heaven I send ; 
This is my joy, that ere my body fleet, 
Your honored arms are my true winding-sheet ; 
Farewell, dear Bedford, my peace is made in heaven ; 
Thus falls great Cromwell, a poor ell in length, 
To rise t'unmeasured height, winged with new 

The land of worms, 2 which dying men discover. 
My soul is shrined with heaven's celestial cover. 

[Exeunt Cromwell, Officers, fyc. 

Bed. Well, farewell, Cromwell! sure the truest 
That ever Bedford shall possess again ! [friend 

Well, lords, I fear that when this man is dead, 
You'll wish in vain that Cromwell had a head. 

Enter Officer, with Cromwell's Head. 

Offi. Here is the head of the deceased Cromwell. 
Bed. Pray thee go hence, and bear his head away 
Unto his corse ; — inter them both in clay. 

Enter Sir Ralph Sadler. 
Sad. How now, my lords ? what, is Lord Cromwell 

Bed. Lord Cromwell's body now doth want a head. 
Sad. O, God ! a little speed had saved his life. 
Here is a kind reprieve come from the king, 
To bring him straight unto his majesty. 

Suff. Ay, ay, Sir Ralph, reprieves come now too 

Gar. My conscience tells me now this deed was ill ! 
Would Christ that Cromwell were alive again ! 

Norf. Come, let us to the king, who, well I know, 
Will grieve for Cromwell, that his death was so. 


1 Old copy reads, " my love." 

2 This passage is manifestly corrupt. 




The history of Sir John Oldcastle may be found 
in Holingshead ; but the author of the drama has not 
been tenacious of his facts. He has used them at 
pleasure, wherever a perversion of them might height- 
en the interest of the play, or bring out the character 
of his hero more impressively. The play before us 
was entered on the stationer's books, on the 4th of 
August, 1600, as " The first part of the History of 
the Life of Sir John Oldcastle — Lord Cobham ;" the 
second part, " with his martyrdom," was entered at 
the same time ; but this was never published. The 
first part was entered without the name of Shak- 
speare; but of two editions printed in 1600, one of 
them bears the name of William Shakspeare at full 
length, in the titlepage, with the addition : " as it 
hath beene lately acted by the Right Honorable the 
Earle of Nottingham, Lord High Admiral of England, 
his Servants." Mr. Knight remarks, of this fact : 
" In 1594, a play of Shakspeare's might have been 
acted, as we believe Hamlet was, at Henslowe's the- 

atre, which was that of the lord high admiral his 
servants ; but in 1600, a play of Shakspeare's would 
have unquestionably been acted by the lord cham- 
berlain his servants." This is not conclusive. The 
interest of Shakspeare, in 1600, undoubtedly lay in 
the latter theatre ; but a former play might have be- 
come the property of the manager of another house, 
at a time when Shakspeare was connected with nei- 
ther, and thus be entirely out of the author's posses- 
sion and control, as well to revise, rewrite, or en- 
tirely suppress. Recently, however, we find by the 
Diary of Ph. Henslowe, lately published by the 
Shakspeare Society, that, on the 16th of October, 
1599, he paid " for the first part of the Lyfe of Sir 
Ihon Oldcastle, and in earnest of the second Pte., 
for the use of the company, ten pound ;" and the 
money was received by " Thomas Downton," " to pay 
Mr. Monday, Mr. Drayton, Mr. Wilson, and Mr. 
Hathaway." This might be considered conclusive, 
were it not that nothing was more frequent than the 



production, at rival theatres, of pieces on the same i 
subjects, particularly at the same time, and when the 
successful run of one piece provoked the cupidity of 
managers to desire a share in the profits accruing 
largely to their neighbors. The very employment 
of no less than four hands, in the preparation of this 
play, would seem to declare some present emergency. 
Mr. Knight speaks of it " as a very curious example 
of the imperfect manner in which it was attempted 
to imitate the excellence, and to rival the popularity, 
of Shakspeare's best historical plays, at the time of 
their original production." Certainly, there are sev- 
eral respects in which Sir John Oldcastle reminds us 
of Shakspeare. The character of Sir John of Wro- 
tham, the priest, is just such an instance of resem- 
blance, as a feebler or a younger writer would attempt, 
at the character of Falstaff, who desired at the same 
time to escape the charge of imitation. 

The prologue has been relied upon to prove that 
Shakspeare had no agency in the piece, since it is 
supposed in two of the lines to reflect unfavorably 
upon his own labors : — 

" It is no pampered glutton we present, 
Nor aged counsellor to youthful sin." 

Offence seems to have been taken at the character 
of Falstaff, who, it appears, had been confounded with 
Sir John Oldcastle. The employment of this name, 
openly, at the head of a new piece, might have occa- 
sioned some doubts as to the character in which that 
historical personage would be shown ; and the lan- 
guage of the prologue was intended to disarm all ap- 

" Let fair truth be graced" — 
is the entreaty of the dramatist — 

" Since forged invention former time defaced." 

This is construed into a sarcasm upon Shakspeare's 
labors in Falstaff, and is supposed to be conclusive 
against his share in the production. If a sarcasm, it 
is a very gentle one. Shakspeare himself judges of 
Falstaff, through Henry V. and the Chief Justice, 
much more severely, and in much the same language. 
Were we, indeed, disposed to make out a case, we 
might insist upon this prologue as reaDy apologetic, 
and assume that the play was chiefly written to atone 
for the supposed wrong done by the author of Sir 
John Falstaff, to the historical reputation of Sir John 
Oldcastle. But we take no interest in the question. 

It may be well to mention, that the opinion is held 
by some that the Sir John Falstaff of Shakspeare's 
Henry IV. was originally called Sir John Oldcastle. 
The character and name, indeed, seem to have been 
employed frequently by the dramatists. In the old 
play of " The Famous Victories," according to Mr. 
Knight, the character of Sir John Oldcastle occurs 
as a low and ruffianly sort of person. Fuller, in his 
Church History, has something directly on this sub- 
ject. "Stage poets," quoth he, "have themselves 
been very bold with, and others very merry at, the 
memory of Sir John Oldcastle, whom they have fan- 
cied a boon companion, a jovial royster, and a cow- 
ard to boot. The best is, Sir John Falstaff hath re- 
lieved the memory of Sir John Oldcastle, and of late 
is substituted buffoon in his place." This description 

of Fuller would seem especially to describe our owr 
Sir John of Shakspeare memory. Mr. Knight adds: 
" Whether or not Shakspeare's Falstaff was orign- 
ally called Oldcastle, he was, after the character -was 
fairly established as Falstaff, anxious to vindicate 
himself from the charge that he had attempted to 
represent the Oldcastle of history. In the epilogue 
to the Second Part of Henry IV., we find this pas- 
sage : " For anything I know, Falstaff shall die of a 
sweat, unless already he be killed with yrur hard 
opinions ; for Oldcastle died a martyr, and tiis is not 
the man." This would show a consciousness of some 
necessity to apologize and atone for the jast — pre- 
cisely some such feeling us would prompt the lan- 
guage of the prologue to Sir John Oldcastie ; — which 
is very well written, and in that frank anc manly style 
which distinguishes the poetry of Shakspeare, when 
he contemplates nothing beyond the Actual and di- 
rect : — 

'•The doubtful title, gentlemen, prefixed 
Upon the argument we have in hand, 
May breed suspense, and wrongfully disturb 
The peaceful quiet of your settled thoughts : 
To stop which scruple, let this brief suffice : 
/( is no pampered glutton we present, 
Nor aged counsellor to youthful sin, 
But one," &c. : 

"Let fair truth be graced, 
Since forged invention former time defaced." 

" The mode," says Mr. Knight, " in which some 
of the German critics have spoken of this play, is 
a rebuke to dogmatic assertions and criticism." 
We have shown, elsewhere, what Schlegel says con- 
cerning these biographical dramas; — how he de- 
scribes Sir John Oldcastle, Thomas Lord Cromwell, 
and the Yorkshire Tragedy — putting them all in the 
same category — as not only unquestionably Shak- 
speare's, but the best of his works, and models of 
their species. Teick is equally confident in assigning 
the authorship of the play before us to Shakspeare. 
Ulrici, on the contrary, takes a more sober view of the 
matter. He says : " The whole betrays a poet who 
endeavored to form himself on Shakspeare's model — 
nay, even to imitate him — but who stood far below 
him in mind and talent." 

Schlegel's criticism seems wholly valueless in re- 
gard to these plays. There is, for example, a mon- 
strous inequality between the play of Cromwell and 
Oldcastle. To class them together, as equally mod- 
els, and either as worthy to be ranked among the 
best of Shakspeare's plays, is sheer absurdity. 

But Sir John Oldcastle is a performance of very 
considerable merit. The poetry is sometimes forci- 
cible and fine, if not rich and generous. It lacks the 
glow, the fire, and invention, of Shakspeare, when 
on the wing, but possesses his frankness, impulse, and 
transparency. When Ulrici speaks of the unknown 
author of this play as imitating Shakspeare, or mod- 
elling himself upon him, he probably confounds two 
things, in their nature very different. It appears to 
me that, while the author of Sir John Oldcastle has 
appropriated certain of Shakspeare's materials, some 
two or more of his characters, and some of his inci- 
dents, he has, neither in the plan of his story, nor in 
the structure of his verse, imitated any writer. His 



style of expression seems to be that of a practised 
writer, confident in his own mode of utterance, and 
never pausing to pick and choose his phrase in regard 
to any model. Remark, for instance, the prologue, 
where we see an instance of ease and freedom in the 
verse, such as prevails in all the better portions of 
this play, which conclusively show the habitual wri- 
ter, and one totally unaffected and unconstrained in 
the manner of delivering himself. If Shakspeare 
did not write this play — and we attempt only to 
furnish the reader with the facts in relation to the 
question, and not to provide a comment upon them — 
there are certain portions of it which are quite wor- 
thy of his pen. Take, for example, the manner in 
which the conspirators attempt to inveigle Lord Cob- 
ham into their confederacy. The allegory here is 
well sustained, and very forcibly given : — 

" Cam. Nay, but the stag which we desire to strike, 
Lives not in Cowling : if you will consent, 
And go with us, we'll bring you to a forest 
Where runs a lusty herd ; among the which 
There is a stag superior to the rest; 
A stately beast, that, when his fellows run, 
He leads the race, and beats the sullen earth, 
As though he scorned it, with his trampling hoofs ; 
Aloft he bears his head, and with his breast, 
Like a a huge bulwark, counterchecks the wind : 
And, when he standeth still, he stretcheth forth 
His proud ambitious neck, as if he meant 
To wound the firmament with forked horns. 

Cob. "Tis pity such a goodly beast should die. 

Cam. Not so, Sir John ; for he is tyrannous, 
And gores the other deer, and will not keep 
Within the limits are appointed him. 
Of late he's broke into a several, 
Which doth belong to me, and there he spoils 
Both corn and pasture. Two of his wild race, 
Alike for stealth and covetous encroaching, 
Already are removed : if he were dead, 
I should not only be secure from hurt, 
But with his body make a royal feast." 

It is objected to the morality of this part of the 
play, that Cobham should betray those who had 
confided their conspiracy to him. I am somewhat 
doubtful whether this censure is deserved. What 
was Cobham to do ? The friend of the king, a con- 
spiracy is forced upon him, of which he disapproves, 
which contemplates the king's murder. Is he to 
suffer it to go forward to completion of its objects? 
Surely not. If he had sought out the conspirators 
for their secret, and under false guises had obtained 
it, then to betray them would have been criminal ; 
but this was not the case. They thrust themselves 
upon him, assuming that he sympathizes with them, 
and the safety of the king compels the course which 
he adopts. 

As a play, Sir John Oldcastle lacks unity. It is 
desultory, and the purposes of the several characters 
do not work together. The several performances of 
the parties do not contemplate the denouement. The 
separate scenes are lively — some of them very im- 
pressive — and more than one of the persons of the 
drama are exceedingly well conceived. Sir John of 
Wrotham, who is meant to be a Falstaff, with the 
additional virtue of courage, might have been suc- 
cessful, but that Falstaff stood in his way. Whether 
drawn by Shakspeare or another, the character of 
Sir John of Wrotham fails only as it reminds us that 
we have known Falstaff. It was this knowledge 
that paralyzed the effort to repaint the character 
under another name, and with additional attributes. 
Our " sweet Jack Falstaff," " kind Jack Falstaff," 
" true Jack Falstaff," " valiant and plump Jack Fal- 
staff," is already sufficiently perfect ; and an accumu- 
lation of more virtues in his character might only 
withdraw him in some degree from our sympathies. 
Sir John of Wrotham is a failure ; but we see what 
he might have been, but for the overwhelming excel- 
lence of his predecessor. 




King Henry the Fifth. 

Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham. 

Lord Herbert. 

Lord Powis. 

The Duke of Suffolk. 

The Earl of Huntington. 

The Earl of Cambridge, ) Conspirators against the 

Lord Scroop, j Mng 

Sir Thomas Grey, 

Sir Roger Acton, 

Sir Richard Lee, 

Master Bourn, [_ Rebels. 

Master Beverley, 

Murley, the Brewer 0/ Dunstable, t 

The Bishop of Rochester. 

Two Judges of Assize. 

Lord- Warden of the Cinque Ports. 

Master Butler, Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. 

Chartres, the French Agent. 

Cromer, Sheriff of Kent. 

The Mayor of Hereford. 

The She?-iff of Hereford shire. 

Sir John, the Parson of Wrotham. 

Lieutenant of the Tower. 

The Mayor and Gaoler of St. Alban's. 

A Kentish Constable and an Ale-man. 

Dick and Tom, Servants to Murley. 

An Irishman. 

Harpool, Servant to the Lord Cobham. 

Gough, Servant to Lord Herbert. 

Owen and Davy, Servants to Lord Powis. 

Clun, Sumner to the Bishop of Rochester. 

Lady Cobham. 

Lady Powis. 

Doll, Concubine to Sir John, Parson of Wrotham. 

Kate, the Carrier's Daughter. 

Host, Ostler, Carriers, Soldiers, Beggarmen, Constables, 
Warders of the Tower, Bailiffs, Messengers, and 

SCENE, — England. 


The doubtful title, gentlemen, prefixed 
Upon the argument we have in hand, 

May breed suspence, and wrongfully disturb 
The peaceful quiet of your settled thoughts. 
To stop which scruple, let this brief suffice ; 
It is no pampered glutton we present, 
Nor aged counsellor to youthful sin ; 
But one, whose virtues shine above the rest, 
A valiant martyr, and a virtuous peer ; 
In whose true faith and loyalty expressed 
Unto his sovereign, and his country's weal, 
We strive to pay that tribute of our love 
Your favors merit. Let fair truth be graced, 
Since forged invention former time defaced. 


SCENE I. — A Street in Hereford. 
Enter Lord Herbert, Lord Powis, Owen, Gough, 

Davy, and others, followers of the Lords Powis and 

Herbert. They fight. Enter the Sheriff of Here- 
ford shire and a Bailiff. 

Sher. My lords, I charge you in his highness' name, 
To keep the peace, you and your followers. 

Herb. Good master sheriff, look unto yourself. 

Pow. Do so, for we have other business. 

[They attempt to fight again. 

Sher. Will ye disturb the judges, and the assize 1 
Hear the king's proclamation ; — ye were best. 

Pow. Hold, then ; let's hear it. 

Herb. But be brief, be brief ! 

Bail. 0— yes. 

Davy. Cossone, make shorter 0, or shall mar your 

Bail. — yes. 

Owen. What, has hur nothing to say but, yes ? 

Bail. — yes. 

Davy. nay ; py coss plut, down with hur, down 
with hur. A Powis ! a Powis ! 

Gough. A Herbert ! a Herbert .' and down with 
Powis ! [They fight again. 

Sher. Hold ! in the king's name, hold ! 

Owen. Down with a knave's name, down. 

[The Bailiff is knocked down, and 
the Sheriff runs away. 

Herb. Powis, I think thy Welsh and thou do smart. 

Poiv. Herbert, I think my sword came near thy 

Herb. Thy heart's best blood shall pay the loss of 

Gough. A Herbert ! a Herbert ! 

Davy. A Powis ! a Powis ! 



As they are fighting, enter the Mayor of Hereford, his 
Officers and Townsmen, with Clubs. 

Mayor. My lords, as you are liegemen to the crown, 
True noblemen, and subjects to the king, 
Attend his highness' proclamation, 
Commanded by the judges of assize, 
For keeping peace at this assembly. 

Herb. Good master mayor of Hereford, be brief. 

Mayor. Sergeant, without the ceremonies of " 
Pronounce aloud the proclamation. 

Serg. The king's justices, perceiving what public 
mischief may ensue this private quarrel, in his majes- 
ty's name do straightly charge and command all per- 
sons, of what degree soever, to depart this city of 
Hereford, except such as are bound to give attendance 
at this assize, and that no man presume to wear any 
weapon, especially welsh-hooks, forest-bills. 

Owen. Haw? No pill nor Wells hoog? ha? 

Mayor. Peace, and hear the proclamation. 

Serg. And that the lord Powis do presently disperse 
and discharge his retinue, and depart the city in the 
king's peace, he and his followers, on pain of impris- 

Davy. Haw? pud hur lord Powis in prison? A 
Powis ! A Powis ! Cossone, hur will live and tie 
with hur lord. 

Gough. A Herbert ! a Herbert ! 
They fight ; Lord Herbert is wounded, and falls to the 

ground ; the Mayor and his followers interpose. Lord 

Powis runs away. Enter two Judges, the Sheriff and 

his Bailiffs before them. 

1 Judge. Where's the lord Herbert ? Is he hurt or 

slain ? 
Sher. He's here, my lord. 

2 Judge. How tares his lordship, friends ? 
Gough. Mortally wounded, speechless ; he can not 


1 Judge. Convey him hence, let not his wounds take 
And get them 1 dressed with expedition. [air, 

[Exeunt Lord Herbert and Gough. 
Master mayor of Hereford, master sh'riff o'the shire, 
Commit Lord Powis to safe custody, 
To answer the disturbance of the peace, 
Lord Herbert's peril, and his high contempt 
Of us, and you, the king's commissioners : — 
See it be done with care and diligence. 

Sher. Please it your lordship, my lord Powis is gone ; 
Past all recovery. 

2 Judge. Yet, let search be made, 
To apprehend his followers that are left. 

Sher. Here are some of them, sirs ; lay hold of 

Owen. Of us ? and why ? what has hur done, I pray 

Sher. Disarm them, bailiffs. 
Mayor. Officers, assist. 

Davy. Hear you, lord shudge, what resson for this ? 
Owen. Cossone, pe'puse for fightiug for our lord? 
1 Judge. Away with them. 
Davy. Harg you, my lord. 
Owen. Gough, my lord Herbert's man's a scurvy 8 


i Trevious copies read " cet Aim dressed." 
S I substitute here one epithet for another, to avoid a mere 

Davy. I'se live and tie in good quarrel. 

Owen. Pray you do shustice, let awl be prison. 

Davy. Prison, no ! 
Lord shudge, I wool give you pale, good surety. 

2 Judge. What bail ? what sureties ? 

Davy. Hur cozen ap Rice, ap Evan, ap Morice, ap 
Morgan, ap Llwellyn, ap Madoe, ap Meredith, ap 
Griffin, ap Davy, ap Owen, ap Shinken Shones. 

2 Judge. Two of the most sufficient are enow. 

Sher. An't please your lordship, these are all but one. 

1 Judge. To jail with them, and the Lord Herbert's 

We'll talk with them, when the assize is done. 

[Exeunt Bailiffs with Owen, Davy, tifC. 
Riotous, audacious, and unruly grooms, 
Must we be forced to come from [off] the bench, 
To quiet brawls, which every constable 
In other civil places can suppress ? 

2 Judge. What was the quarrel that caused all this 


Sher. About religion, as I heard, my lord; — 
Lord Powis detracted from the power of Rome, 
Affirming Wickliffe's doctrine to be true, 
And Rome's erroneous : hot reply was made 
By the lord Herbert, — they were traitors all 
That would maintain it. Powis answered ; — 
They were as true, as noble, and as wise, 
As he, — and would defend it with their lives ! 
He named, for instance, Sir John Oldcastle, 
The lord Cobham : Herbert replied again, — 
He, thou, and all, are traitors that so hold. 
The lie was given, the several factions drawn, 
And so enraged, that we could not appease it. 

1 Judge. This case concerns the king's prerogative; 
'Tis dangerous to the state and commonwealth. 
Gentlemen, justices, master mayor, and sheriff, 
It doth behoove us all, and each of us, 
In general and particular, to have care 
For the suppressing of all mutinies, 
And all assemblies, except soldiers' musters, 
For the king's preparation unto France. 
We hear of secret conventicles made, 
And there is doubt of some conspiracies, 
Which may break out into rebellious arms 
When the king's gone — perchance before he go. 
Note, as an instance, this one perilous fray : 
What factions might have grown on either part, 
To the destruction of the king and realm ! 
Yet, in my conscience, Sir John Oldcastle is 
Innocent of it ; only his name was used. 
We, therefore, from his highness, give this charge : 
You, master mayor, look to your citizens ; 
You, master sheriff, unto your shire ; and you, 
As justices, in every one's precinct, 
There be no meetings ; — when the vulgar sort 
Sit on their ale-bench, with their cups and cans, 
Matters of state be not their common talk, 
Nor pure religion by their lips profaned. 
Let us return unto the bench again, 
And there examine further of this fray. 

Enter a Bailiff and a Sergeant. 

Sher. Sirs, have ye taken the lord Powis yet ? 
Bail. No, nor heard of him. 

Serg. He's gone far enough, 

a Judge. They that are left behind shall answer all. 




SCENE II. — Eltham. An Antechamber in the Palace. 

Enter the Duke of Suffolk, Bishop of Rochester, 
Butler, and Sir John of Wrotham. 

Suff. Now, my lord Bishop, take free liberty 
To speak your mind : what is your suit to us ? 

Bish. My noble lord, no more than what you know, 
And have been oftentimes iuvested with. 
Grievous complaints have passed between the lips 
Of envious persons to upbraid the clergy : 
Some carping at the livings which we have ; 
And others spuming at the ceremonies 
That are of ancient custom in the church ; — 
Among the which, Lord Cobham is a chief. 
What inconvenience may proceed hereof, 
Both to the king and to the commonwealth, 
May easily be discerned, when, like a phrensy, 
This innovation shall possess their minds. 
These upstarts will have followers to uphold 
Their damned opinion, more than Harry shall, 
To undergo his quarrel 'gainst the French. 

Suff. What proof is there against them to be had. 
That what you say the law may justify? 

Bish. They give themselves the names of protest- 
And meet in fields and solitary groves. [ants, 

Sir John. Was ever heard, my lord, the like till 
That thieves and rebels — 'sblood ! that heretics — 
Plain heretics, I'll stand to't to their teeth — 
Should have, to color their vile practices, 
A title of such worth as protestant ? 

Enter Messenger to the Duke of Suffolk, with a Let- 

Suff. O, but you must not swear : it ill becomes 
One of your coat, to rap out bloody oaths. 

Bish. Pardon him, good my lord ; it is his zeal — 
An honest country prelate, who laments 
To see such foul disorders in the church. 

Sir John. There's one — they call him Sir John 
Oldcastle — 
He has not his name for naught ; for, like a castle, 
Doth he encompass them within his walls : 
But, till that castle be subverted quite, 
We ne'er shall be at quiet in the realm. 

Bish. This is our suit, my lord, that he be ta'en 
And brought in question for his heresy : 
Besides, two letters, brought me out of Wales, 
Wherein my lord of Hereford writes to me 
What tumult and sedition was begun, 
'Bout the Lord Cobham, at the 'sizes there ; 
For they had much ado to calm the rage — 
And that the valiant Herbert there is slain. 

Suff. A fire that must be quenched. Well, say no 
The king anon goes to the council-chamber, [more ; 
There to debate of matters touching France. 
As he doth pass, I will inform his grace 
Concerning your petition. Master Butler, 
If I forget, do you remember me. 

But. I will, my lord. 

Bish. [Offers the Duke a purse]. Not as a recom- 
But as a token of our love to you, [pense, 

By me, my lord, the clergy doth present 
This purse, and in it full a thousand angels, 
Praying your lordship to accept their gift. 

Suff. I thank them, my lord bishop, for their love, 

But will not take their money ; — if you please 
To give it to this gentleman, you may. 

Bish. Sir, then we crave your furtherance herein. 

But. The best I can, my lord of Rochester. 

Bish. Nay, pray you take it; trust me, sir, you 

Sir John. Were ye all three upon Newmarket heath, 
You should not need strain court'sy who should have 
Sir John would quickly rid ye of that care. [it : 


Suff. The king is coming. Fear ye not, my lord ; 
The very first thing I will break with him 
Shall be about your matter. 

Enter King Henry and the Earl of Huntington. 

K. Hen. My lord of Suffolk, 

Was it not said the clergy did refuse 
To lend us money toward our wars in France ? 

Suff. It was, my lord, but very wrongfully. 

K. Hen. I know it was ; for Huntington here tells 
They have been very bountiful of late. [me 

Suff. And still they vow, my gracious lord, to be so, 
Hoping your majesty will think on them 
As of your loving subjects, and suppress 
All such malicious errors as begin 
To spot their calling, and disturb the church. 

K. Hen. God else forbid ! Why, Suffolk, is there, 
Any new rupture to disquiet them ? [then], 

Suff. No new, my lord ; the old is great enough, 
And so increasing, as, if not cut down, 
Will breed a scandal to your royal state, 
And set your kingdom quickly in an uproar. 
The Kentish knight, Lord Cobham, in despite 
Of any law, or spiritual discipline, 
Maintains this upstart new religion still ; 
And divers great assemblies, by his means, 
And private quarrels, are commenced abroad, 
As, by this letter, more at large, my liege, 
Is made apparent. 

K. Hen. We do find it here — 

There was in Wales a certain fray of late 
Between two noblemen. But what of this ? 
Follows it straight Lord Cobham must be he 
Did cause the same ? I dare be sworn, good knight, 
He never dreamed of any such contention. 

Bish. But in his name the quarrel did begin, 
About the opinion which he held, my liege. 

K. Hen. What if it did ? Was either he in place 
To take part with them, or abet them in it ? 
If brabbling fellows, whose enkindled blood 
Seeths in their fiery veins, will needs go fight, 
Making their quarrels of some words that passed 
Either of you, or yours, among your cups, 
Is the fault yours ? or are ye guilty of it? 

Suff. With pardon of your highness, mydreadlord, 
Such little sparks neglected, may, in time, 
Grow to a mighty flame. But that's not all : 
He doth besides maintain a strange religion, 
And will not be compelled to come to mass. 

Bish. We do beseech you, therefore, gracious prince, 
Without offence unto your majesty, 
We may be bold to use authority. 

K. Hen. As how ? 

Bish. To summon him to the arches, 1 [sire], 
Where such offences have their punishment. 

1 The court of Arches, so called because it was anciently 
held in the church of St. Mary It Bow, Sancta Maria de Ar- 
cubus. — Malone. 



K. Hen. To answer personally? — is that your 
meaning ? 

Bish. It is, my lord. 

K. Hen. How, if he appeal ? 

Bish. My lord, he can not in such case as this. 

Suff. Not where religion is the plea, my lord. 

K. Hen. I took it always that ourself stood on't 
As a sufficient refuge ; unto whom 
Not any but might lawfully appeal : 
But we'll not argue now upon that point. 
For Sir John Oldcastle, whom you do accuse, 
Let me entreat you to dispense a while 
With your high title of pre-eminence. 
Report did never yet condemn him so, 
But he hath always been reputed loyal ; 
And, in my knowledge, I can say thus much, 
That he is virtuous, wise, and honorable. 
If any way his conscience be seduced 
To waver in his faith, I'll send for him, , 

And school him privately. If that serve not, 
Then, afterward, you may proceed against him. 
Butler, be you the messenger for us, 
And will him presently repair to court. 

[Exeunt King Henry, Huntington, 
Suffolk, and Butler. 

Sir John. How now, my lord ? why stand you dis- 
content ? 
In sooth, methinks the king hath well decreed. 

Bish. Ay, ay, Sir John, if he would keep his word : 
But I perceive he favors him so much, 
As this will be to small effect, I fear. 

Sir John. Why, then, I'll tell you what you're best 
to do : 
If you suspect the king will be but cold 
In reprehending, send your process too 
To serve upon him ; so you may be sure 
To make him answer it, howsoe'er it fall. 

Bish. And well remembered ; I will have it so : 
A sumner 1 shall be sent about it straight. [Exit. 

Sir John. Yea, do so. In the mean space this re- 
For kind Sir John of Wrotham, honest Jack. 
Methinks the purse of gold the bisbop gave 
Made a good show ; it had a tempting look : 
Beshrew me, but my fingers' ends do itch 
To be upon those golden ruddocks. Well ! — 
I am not what the world doth take me for : 
If ever wolf were clothed in sheep's coat, 
Then I am he ; — old huddle and twang i'faith ; 
A priest in show, but in plain terms a thief: 
Yet, let me tell you too, an honest thief; 
One that will take it where it may be spared, 
And spend it freely in good fellowship. 
I have as many shapes as Proteus had, 
That still, when any villany is done, 
There may be none suspect it was Sir John. 
Besides, to comfort me— for what's this life, 
Except the crabbed bitterness thereof 
Be sweetened now and then with lechery ? — 
I have my Doll, my concubine, as 'twere, 
To frolic with — a lusty, bouncing girl ! 
But, whilst I loiter here, the gold may 'scape, 
And that must not be so : it is mine own ; — 
Therefore, I'll meet him on his way to court, 
And shrive him of it ; there will be the sport. [Exit. 

i A sumner was an apparitor— in plain, a summone.r of 
persons to appear in the spiritual court. 

SCENE III. — Kent. An outer Court before Lord 
Coeham's House. A public Road leading to it, and 
an Alehouse at a little distance. 

Enter four poor People, some Soldiers, some old Men. 

1 Sold. God help ! God help ! there's law for pun- 

But there's no law for our necessity : 
There be more stocks to set poor soldiers in, 
Than there be houses to relieve them at. 

Old Man. Ay, housekeeping now decays in every 

Even as Saint Peter writ, still worse and worse. 

2 Old Man. Master maj'or of Rochester has given 
command that none shall go abroad out of the parish ; 
and has set down an order, forsooth, of what every 
poor householder must give for our relief: where there 
be some 'sessed — I may say to you — had almost as 
much need to beg as we. 

1 Old Man. It is a hard world the while. 

2 Old Man. If a poor man ask at door for God's 
sake, they ask him for a license or a certificate from 
a justice. 

1 Sold. Faith, we have none, but what we bear up- 
on our bodies — our maimed limbs — God help us .' 

2 Sold. And yet, as lame as I am, I'll with the king 
into France, if I can but crawl o' shipboard. I had 
rather be slain in France than starve in England. 

1 Old Man. Ha, were I but as lusty as I was at 
Shrewsbury battle, I would not do as I do : but we 
are now come to the good Lord Cobham's, the best 
man to the poor in all Kent. 

2 Old Man. God bless him ! there be but few such. 

Enter Lord Cobham with Harpool. 

Cob. Thou peevish, froward man, what wouldst 
thou have ? 

Har. This pride, this pride, brings all to beggary. 
I served your father, and your grandfather ; — 
Show me such two men now. No, no, your backs, 
Your backs, the devil, and pride, have cut the throat 
Of all good housekeeping ; they were the best 
Yeomen's masters that ever were in England. 

Cob. Yea, except thou have a crew of filthy knaves 
And sturdy rogues still feeding at my gate, 
There is no hospitality with thee. 

Har. They may sit at the gate well enough, but 
the devil of anything you give them, except they'll 
eat stones. 

Cob. 'Tis 'long, then, of such hungry knaves as you : 
Here, sir's, your retinue ; your guests be come : 
They know their hours, I warrant you. 

1 Old Man. God bless your honor ! God save the 
good Lord Cobham, and all his house .' 

1 Sold. Good your honor, bestow your blessed alms 
Upon poor men. 

Co6. Now, sir, here be your alms-knights : 
Now are you as safe as the emperor. 

Har. My alms-knights ? Nay, they're yours : 
It is a shame for you, and I'll stand to't ; 
Your foolish alms maintains more vagabonds 
Than all the noblemen in Kent beside. 
Out, you rogues ! you knaves, work for your livings. 
Alas ! poor men, they may beg their hearts out [here], 
There's no more charity among [living] men 
Than among so many mastiff-dogs. [Aside. 



What make you here, you needy knaves ? Away ! 
Away, you villains ! 

2 Sold. Nay, I beseech you, sir, be good to us. 

Cob. Nay, nay, 
They know thee well enough ! I think that all 
The beggars in this land are thy acquaintance : 
Go, bestow your alms ; none will control you, sir. 

Har. What should I give them ? You are grown so 
beggarly, that you can scarce give a bit of bread at 
your door. You talk of your religion so long, that 
you have banished charity from you. A man may 
make a flax-shop in your kitchen-chimneys, for any 
fire there is stirring. 

Cob. If thou wilt give them nothing, send them 
hence : 
Let them not stand here starving in the cold. 

Har. Who ? I drive them hence ? If I drive poor 
men from the door, I '11 be hanged ! I know not what 
I may come to myself. God help ye, poor knaves ! 
ye see the world. Well, you had a mother : 0, God 
be with thee, good lady ! thy soul's at rest ; she gave 
more in shirts and smocks to poor children, than you 
spend in your house ; and yet you live a beggar too. 

Cob. E'en the worst deed that e'er my mother did, 
Was in relieving such a fool as thou. 

Har. Ay, I am a fool still ; with all your wit, you'll 
die a beggar ; go to ! 

Cob. Go, you old fool, give the poor people some- 
Go in, poor men, into the inner court, [thing. 
And take such alms as there is to be had. 

Sold. God bless your honor ! 

Har. Hang you, rogues, hang you ! there's nothing 
but misery among you ; you fear no law, you ! [Exit. 

2 Old Man. God bless you, good Master Ralph ! — 
God save your life, you are good to the poor still ! 

Enter Lord Powis, disguised. 

Cob. What fellow yonder comes along the grove ? 
Few passengers there be that know this way : 
Methinks he stops as though he stayed for me, 
And meant to shroud himself among the bushes. 
I know the clergy hate me to the death, 
And my religion gets me many foes ; 
And this may be some desperate rogue, suborned 
To work me mischief: as it pleaseth God ! 
If he come toward me, sure I'll stay his coming, 
Be he but one man, whatsoe'er he be. 

[Lord Powis advances. 
I have been well acquainted with that face. 

Pow. Well met, my honorable lord and friend. 

Cob. You are very welcome, sir, whoe'er you be ; 
But of this sudden, sir, I do not know you. 

Pow . I am one that wisheth well unto your honor : 
My name is Powis, an old friend of yours. 

Cob. My honorable lord and worthy friend, 
What makes your lordship thus alone in Kent, 
And thus disguised in this strange attire ? 

Pow. My lord, an unexpected accident 
Hath at this time enforced me to these parts, 
And thus it happ'd : Not yet full five days since 
Now, at the last assize at Hereford, 
It chanced that, the Lord Herbert and myself, 
'Mong other things discoursing at the table, 
Did fall in speech about some certain points 
Of WicklifFe's doctrine 'gainst the papacy, 
And the religion catholic maintained 

Through the most part of Europe at this day. 

This wilful, testy lord, stuck not to say 

That Wickliffe was a knave, a schismatic — 

His doctrine devilish and heretical ; 

And whatsoe'er he was maintained the same, 

Was traitor both to God and to his country. 

Being moved at his peremptory speech, 

I told him some maintained those opinions, 

Good men, and truer subjects than Lord Herbert ; 

And he, replying in comparisons, 

Your name was urged, my lord, against his challenge , 

To be a perfect favorer of the truth. 

And, to be short, from words we fell to blows, 

Our servants and our tenants taking parts ; 

Many on both sides hurt : and, for an hour, 

The broil by no means could be pacified, 

Until the judges, rising from the bench, 

Were, in their persons, forced to part the fray. 

Cob. I hope no man was violently slain. 

Pow. 'Faith, none, I trust, but the Lord Herbert's 
Who is in truth so dangerously hurt, [self, 

As it is doubted he can hardly 'scape. 

Cob. I am sorry, my good lord, of these ill news. 

Pow. This is the cause that drives me into Kent, 
To shroud myself with you, so good a friend, 
Until I hear how things do speed at home. 

Cob. Your lordship is most welcome unto Cobham : 
But I am very sorry, my good lord, 
My name was brought in question in this matter, 
Considering I have many enemies, 
That threaten malice, and do lie in wait 
To take the 'vantage of the smallest thing. 
But you are welcome to repose your lordship, 
And keep yourself here secret in my house, 
Until we hear how the Lord Herbert speeds. 

Enter Harpool. 

Here comes my man. Sirrah, what news? 

Har. Yonder's one Master Butler, of the privy 
chamber, is sent unto you from the king. 

Pow. Pray God the Lord Herbert be not dead — 
And the king, hearing whither I am gone, 
Hath sent for me. 

Cob. Comfort yourself, my lord, I warrant you. 

Har. Fellow, what ails thee ? Dost thou quake ? 
dost thou shake ? Dost thou tremble ? ha ? 

Cob. Peace, you old fool ! Sirrah, convey this gen- 
tleman in the back way, and bring the other into the 

Har. Come, sir, you're welcome, if you love my 

Pow. Gramercy, gentle friend. 

[Exeunt Powis and Harpool. 

Cob. I thought as much — that it would not be long 
Before I heard of something from the king 
About this matter. 

Enter Harpool, with Butler. 

Har. Sir, yonder my lord walks : you see him ; 
I'll have your men into the cellar the while. 

Cob. Welcome, good Master Butler. 

But. Thanks, my good lord. His majesty doth 
commend his love unto your lordship, and wills you 
to repair unto the court. 

Cob. God bless his highness, and confound his ene- 
mies ! I hope his majesty is well ? 



But. In good health, my lord. 

Cob. God long continue it. Methinks you look 
As though you were not well : what ails ye, sir ( 

But. 'Faith, I have had a foolish, odd mischance, 
That angers me. Coming o'er Shooters' hill, 
There came one to me like a sailor, and 
Asked me money ; and whilst I stayed my horse, 
To draw my purse, he takes th' advantage of 
A little bank, and leaps behind me, whips 
My purse away, and with a sudden jerk, 
I know not how, threw me at least three yards 
Out of my saddle. I never was so robbed 
In all my life. 

Cob. I am very sorry, sir, for your mischance ; 
We will send our warrant forth to stay all such 
Suspicious persons as shall [here] be found : 
Then, Master Butler, we'll attend on you. 

But. I humbly thank your lordship ; I'll await you. 



SCENE I. — The same. Before Lord Cobham's House. 

Enter a Sumner. 
Sum. I have the law to warrant what I do ; — and 
though the Lord Cobham be a nobleman, that dis- 
penses not with law. I dare serve a process were he 
five noblemen. Though we sumners make sometimes 
a mad slip in a corner with a pretty wench, a sumner 
must not go always by seeing ; a man may be content 
to hide his eyes where he may feel his profit. Well, 
this is Lord Cobham's house : if I can not speak with 
him, I'll clap my citation upon his door ■ so my lord 
of Rochester bade me : but methinks here comes one 
of his men. 

Enter Harpool. 

Har. Welcome, good fellow, welcome : who wouldst 
thou speak with ? 

Sum. With my Lord Cobham I would speak, if thou 
be one of his men. 

Har. Yes, I am one of his men, but thou canst not 
speak with my lord. 

Sum. May I send to him, then ? 

Har. I'll tell thee that/ when I know thy errand. 

Swwi. I will not tell my errand to thee. 

Har. Then keep it to thyself, and walk like a knave, 
as thou earnest. 

Sum. I tell thee, my lord keeps no knaves, sirrah .' 

Har. Then thou servest him not, I believe. What 
lord is thy master ? 

Sum. My lord of Rochester. 

Har. In good time : and what wouldst thou have 
with my Lord Cobham ? 

Sum. I come by virtue of a process, to cite him 
to appear before my lord in the court at Rochester. 

Har. [aside] . Well, God grant me patience ! I could 
eat this counger.i My lord is not at home ; therefore 
it were good, sumner, you carried your process back. 

Sum. Why, if he will not be spoken withal, then 

1 So written in the old folio. In subsequent editions, 
"conger." The reader has his choice. The word " coun- 
ter" 6eems at one period to have been used for conjurer — 
it was to conjure. Harpool may be supposed to sneer at the 
depth and mysteriousness of the sumner. "Conger" was 
the sea-eel — and might very well apply to a slippery fellow. 
Either word, accordingly, may be made to answer. 

will I leave it here : and see that he take knowledge 
of it. [Fixes the citation on the gate. 

Har. 'Zounds ! you slave, do you set up your bills 
here ? go to ; take it down again. Dost thou know 
what thou dost ? Dost thou know on whom thou 
servest a process ? 

Sum. Yes, marry do I : on Sir John Oldcastle, Lord 

Har. I am glad thou knowest him yet. And sirrah, 
dost not know that the Lord Cobham is a brave lord, 
that keeps good beef and beer in his house, and every 
day feeds a hundred poor people at's gate, and keeps 
a hundred tall fellows ? 

Sum. What that's to my process ? 

Har. Marry, this, sir : is this process parchment? 

Sum. Yes, marry, is it. 

Har. And this seal wax ? 

Sum. It is so. 

Har. If this be parchment, and this wax, eat you 
this parchment and this wax, or I will make parch- 
ment of your skin, and beat your brains into wax. 
Sirrah sumner, despatch, devour, sirrah, devour ! 2 

Sum. I am my lord of Rochester's sumner ; I came 
to do my office, and thou shalt answer it. 

Har. Sirrah, no railing ; but betake yourself to your 
teeth. Thou shalt eat no worse than thou bring'st 
with thee. Thou bring'st it for my lord, and wilt 
thou bring my lord worse than thou wilt eat thyself? 

Sum. Sir, I brought it not my lord to eat. 

Har. 0, do you sir me now ? All's one for that ; 
I'll make you eat it, for bringing it. 

Sum. I can not eat it. 

Har. Can you not ? 'Sblood ! I'll beat you till you 
have a stomach. [Beats him. 

Sum. Oh, hold, hold, good master servingman ! I 
will eat it. 

Har. Be champing, be chewing, sir, or I'll chew 
you, you rogue ! Tough wax shows the purest of the 

Sum. Tough wax the purest honey ! O Lord, sir, 
oh! oh! [Eats. 

Har. Feed, feed — 'tis wholesome, rogue, whole- 
some. Can not you, like an honest sumner, walk 
with the devil your brother, to fetch in your bailiff's 
rents, but you must come to a nobleman's house with 
process ? If thy seal were as broad as the lead thai 
covers Rochester church, thou shouldst eat it. 

Sum. 0, 1 am almost choked, I am almost choked ! 

Har. Who's within there ? will you shame my lord ? 
Is there no beer in the house ? Butler, I say ! 

Enter Butler. 

But. Here, here. 

Har. Give him beer. There : tough old sheepskin's 
bare dry meat ! [Sumner drinks. 

Sum. 0, sir, let me go no further : I'll eat my word. 

Har. Yea, marry, sir, I mean ye shall eat more 
than your own word ; for I'll make you eat all the 
words in the process. Why, you drabmonger, can 
not the secrets of all the wenches in a shire serve 
your turn, but you must come hither with a citation, 
with a pox ? I'll cite you. — A cup of sack for the 
sumner ! 

2 The dramatist owes little in this process to his inven- 
tion. Nash, one of the early dramatists, tells us that he saw 
Greene, another of the faculty, " make an apparitor eat his 
citation, wax and all, very handsomely served 'twixt two 
dishes," The same punishment has been several times em- 
ployed since. 



But. Here, sir, here. 

Har. Here, slave, I drink to thee. 

Sum. I thank you, sir. 

Har. Now, if thou find'st thy stomach well — be- 
cause thou shalt see my lord keeps meat in's house — 
if thou wilt go in, thou shalt have a piece of beef to 
thy breakfast. 

Sum. No, I am very well, good master servingman ; 
I thank you, very well, sir. 

Har. I am glad on't ; then be walking toward 
Rochester, to keep your stomach warm. And, sum- 
ner, if I do know you disturb a good wench within 
this diocese, if I do not make thee eat her petticoat, 
if there were four yards of Kentish cloth in't, I am a 

Sum. God be wi'ye. master servingman. 

[Exit Sumner. 

Har. Farewell, sumner. 

Enter Constable. 

Con. Save you, Master Harpool. 

Har. Welcome, constable, welcome, constable ; — 
what news with thee ? 

Con. An't please you, Master Harpool, I am to 
make hue and cry for a fellow with one eye, that has 
robbed two clothiers, and am to crave your hinderance 
to search all suspected places ; and they say there 
was a woman in the company. 

Har. Hast thou been at the alehouse ? hast thou 
sought there ? 

Con. I durst not search in my Lord Cobham's lib- 
erty, except I had some of his servants for my war- 

Har. An honest constable ; — call forth him that 
keeps the alehouse there. 

Con. Ho ! who's within there ? 

Ale-Man. Who calls there ? Oh, is't you, master 
constable, and Master Harpool ? You're welcome 
with all my heart. What make you here so early, 
this morning ? 

Har. Sirrah, what strangers do you lodge? There 
is a robbery done this morning, and we are to search 
for all suspected persons. 

Ale-Man. God's-bore, I am sorry for't. I'faith,sir, 
I lodge nobody but a good, honest priest, called Sir 
John o' Wrotham, and a handsome woman that is his 
niece, that he says he has some suit in law for ; and 
as they go up and down to London, sometimes they 
lie at my house. 

Har. What, is she here in thy house now ? 

Ale-Man. She is, sir. I promise you, sir, he is a 
quiet man ; and because he will not trouble too many 
rooms, he makes the woman lie every night at his 
bed's feet. 

Har. Bring her forth, constable, bring her forth, 
let's see her, let's see her. 

Ale-Man. Dorothy, you must come down to master 

Enter Dorothy. 

Doll. Anon forsooth. 

Har. Welcome, sweet lass, welcome. 

Boll. I thank you, good sir, and master constable 

Har. A plump girl, by the mass, a plump girl ! ha, 
Doll, ha. Wilt thou forsake the priest, and go with 
me, Doll ? 

Con. Ah ! well said, Master Harpool, you are a 
merry old man, i'faith ; you will never be old. Now, 
by the macke, 1 a pretty wench, indeed. 

Har. You old mad, merry constable, art thou ad- 
vised of that ? Ha, well said, Doll ; fill some ale 

Boll, [aside]. Oh, if I wist this old priest would not 
stick to me, by Jove, I would ingle 2 this old serving- 

Har. Oh, you old mad colt, i'faith, I'll ferk you: 
fill all the pots in the house there. 

Con. Oh ! well said, Master Harpool, you are heart 
of oak when all's done. 

Har. Ha, Doll, thou hast a sweet pair of lips, by 
the mass. 

Boll. Truly, you are a most sweet old man, as ever 
I saw ; by my troth, you have a face able to make 
any woman in love with you. 

Har. Fill, sweet Doll, I'll drink to thee. 

Boll. I pledge you, sir, and thank you therefore, 
and I pray you let it come. 

Har. [embracing her] . Doll, canst thou love me ? 
a mad, merry lass j would to God I had never seen 

Boll. I warrant you, you will not out of my thoughts 
this twelvemonth ; truly, you are as full of favor as 
any man may be. Ah, these sweet gray locks ! by 
my troth, they are most lovely. 

Con. Cud's bores, Master Harpool, I'll have one 
buss, too. 

Har. No licking for you, constable ; hands off, hands 

Con. By'r lady, I love kissing as well as you. 

Boll. Oh, you are an odd boy ; you have a wanton 
eye of your own : ah, you sweet, sugar-lipped wanton, 
you will win as many women's hearts as come in your 

Enter Sir John, of Wrotham. 

Sir John. Doll, come hither. 

Har. Priest, she shall not. 

Boll. I'll come anon, sweet love. 

Sir John. Hands off, old fornicator. 

Har. Vicar, I'll sit here in spite of thee. Is this 
stuff for a priest to carry up and down with him ? 

Sir John. Sirrah, dost thou not know that a good fel- 
low parson may have a chapel of ease, where his par- 
ish church is far off? 

Har. You whorson-stoned vicar. 

Sir John. You old stale ruffian, you lion of Cots- 
wold. 3 

Har. Zounds, vicar, I'll geld you. [Flies upon him. 

Con. Keep the king's peace. 

Boll. Murder, murder, murder ! 

Ale-Man. Hold, as you are men, hold ! for God's 
sake, be quiet : put up your weapons ; you draw not in 
my house. 

Har. You whorson bawdy priest. 

Sir John. You old mutton-monger. 

Con. Hold, Sir John, hold. 

Boll. I pray thee, sweet-heart, be quiet. I was but 
sitting to drink a pot of ale with him, even as kind a 
man as ever I met with. 

Har. Thou art a thief, I warrant thee. 

1 Macke — an ancient game at cards. 

2 Tngle— make a favorite or friend of, &c. 
'•'■ Tfiat is, " you Cotswotd sheep." 



Sir John. Then I am but as thou hasi been in thy 
days ; let's not be ashamed of our trade ; the king has 
been a thief himself. 

Boll. Come, be quiet ; hast thou sped? 

Sir John. I have, wench ; there be crowns i'faith. 

Doll. Come, let's be all friends, then. 

Con. Well said, Mistress Dorothy. 

Har. Thou art the maddest priest that ever I met 

Sir John. Give me thy hand ; thou art as good a fel- 
low. I am a singer, a drinker, a bencher, 1 a wencher ; 
I can say a mass, and kiss a lass : faith, I have a par- 
sonage, and because I would not be at too much 
charges, this wench serveth me for a sexton. 

Har. Well said, mad priest, we'll in and be friends. 


SCENE II. — London. A Room in the Axe Inn, with- 
out Bishop-gate. 

Enter Sir Roger Acton, Bourn, Beverley, and 

Acton. Now, Master Murley, I am well assured 
You know our errand, and do like the cause, 
Being a man affected as we are. 

Mur. Marry God dild' 2 ye, dainty my dear ! No 
master, good Sir Roger Acton, Master Bourn, and 
Master Beverley, gentlemen and justices of the peace ; 
no master I, but plain William Murley, the brewer of 
Dunstable, your honest neighbor and your friend, if 
ye be men of my profession. 

Bev. Professed friends to Wickliffe ; foes to Rome. 

Mur. Hold by me, lad ; lean upon that staff, good 
Master Beverley; all of a house. Say your mind, 
say your mind. 

Acton. You know our faction now is grown so great 
Throughout the realm, that it begins to smoke 
Into the clergy's eyes, and the king's ears ; 
High time it is that we were drawn to head, 
Our general and officers appointed ; — 
And wars, ye wot, will ask great store of coin. 
Able to strengthen our action with your purse, 
You are elected for a colonel, sir, 
Over a regiment of fifteen bands. 

Mur. Phew ! paltry, paltry ! in and out, to and fro, 
be it more or less, upon occasion. Lord have mercy 
upon us, what a world is this ! Sir Roger Acton, I am 
but a Dunstable man, a plain brewer, you know. Will 
lusty cavaliering captains, gentlemen, come at my 
calling, go at my bidding ? Dainty my dear, they'll 
do a dog of wax, a horse of cheese, a prick and a 
pudding. No, no ; you must appoint some lord, or 
knight at least, to that place. 

Bourn. Why, Master Murley, you shall be a knight: 
Were you not in election to be sheriff? 
Have ye not past all offices but that ? 
Have ye not wealth to make your wife a lady? 
I warrant you, my lord, our general 
Bestows that honor on you, at first sight. 

Mur. Marry God dild ye, dainty my dear : 
But tell me who shall be our general. 
Where's the lord Cobham, Sir John Oldcastle, 

1 One who does not scruple to sleep on an ale-bench after 
his potations. " Thou art so fatwitted," says the prince to 
Falstatf', " with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee 
after supper, and sleeping upon benches at noon." 

2 Dild — a corruption and compound of " do shield"— thus : 
•'do shield" — do-ield, — dild. 

That noble alms-giver, housekeeper virtuous, 
Religious gentleman ? Come to me there, boys, 
Come to me there. 
Acton. Why, who but he shall be our general ? 
Mur. And shall he knight me, and make me 

colonel ? 
Acton. My word for that, Sir William Murley, 

Mur. Fellow [of] Sir Roger Acton, knight ; all fel- 
lows, I mean in arms, how strong are we ? how many 
partners ? Our enemies beside the king are mighty ; 
be it more or less, upon occasion, reckon our force. 
Acton. There are of us our friends and followers, 
Three thousand and three hundred at the least : 
Of northern lads, four thousand, beside horse ; 
From Kent there comes, with Sir John Oldcastle 
Seven thousand : then, from London issue out, 
Of masters, servants, strangers, 'prentices, 
Forty odd thousand into Ficket-field, 
Where we appoint our special rendezvous. 

Mur. Phew ! paltry, paltry ! in and out, to and fro, 
Lord have mercy upon us, what a world is this ! 
Where's that Ficket-field, Sir Roger ? 
Acton. Behind St. Giles in the field, near Holborn. 
Mur. Newgate, up Holborn, St. Giles in the field, 
and to Tyburn ; an old say. 3 For the day, for the 

Acton. On Friday next, the fourteenth day of Jan- 

Mur. Tilly vally, trust me never if I have any 
liking of that day. Phew ! paltry, paltry ! Friday, 
quotha ; dismal day ; Childermas day this year was 
Bev. Nay, Master Murley, if you observe such 
We make some question of your constancy, 
All days are like to men resolved in right. 

Mur. Say amen, and say no more, but say and 
hold, Master Beverley : Friday next, and Ficket-field, 
and William Murley and his merry men shall be all 
one. I have half a score jades that draw my beer- 
carts, and every jade shall bear a knave, and every 
knave shall wear a jack, and every jack shall have a 
scuD, and every scull shall show a spear, and every 
spear shall kill a foe at Ficket-field, at Ficket-field : 
John and Tom, Dick and Hodge, Ralph and Robbin, 
Will and George, and all my knaves shall fight like 
men, at Ficket-field, on Friday next. 
Bourn. What sum of money mean you to disburse ? 
Mur. It may be modestly, decently, and soberly, 
and handsomely, I may bring five hundred pound. 

Acton. Five hundred, man? five thousand's not 
A hundred thousand will not pay our men [enough : 
Two months together. Either come prepared, 
Like a brave knight, and martial colonel, 
In glittering gold, and gallant furniture, 
Bringing in coin, a cartload at the least, 
And all your followers mounted on good horse, 
Or never come disgraceful to us all. 

Bev. Perchance you may be chosen treasurer ; 
Ten thousand pound's the least that you cau bring. 

Mur. Paltry, paltry ! in and out, to and fro : upon 
occasion I have ten thousand pound to spend, and ten 
[more] too. And rather than the bishop shall have 
his will of me, for my conscience, it shall all go. 
Flame and flax, flax and flame. It was got with wa- 
3 Say or saw— the word is written both ways. 



ter and malt, and it shall fly with fire and gunpow- 
der. Sir Roger, a cart-load of money till the axle- 
tree crack ; myself and my men in Ficket-field on 
Friday next : remember my knighthood and my place : 
there's my hand ; I'll be there. [Exit Murley. 

Acton. See what ambition may persuade men to, 
In hope of honor he will spend himself. 

Bourn. I never thought a brewer half so rich. 

Bev. Was never bankrupt brewer yet but one, 
With using too much malt, too little water. 

Acton. That is no fault in brewers now-a-days : 
Come, let's away, about our business. 


SCENE III. — An Audience Chamber in the Palace at 

Enter King Henry, the Duke of Suffolk, Butler, 
and Sir John Oldcastle — he kneels to the King. 

K. Hen. 'Tis not enough, Lord Cobham, to submit ; 
You must forsake your gross opinion. 
The bishops find themselves much injured, 
And though, for some good service you have done, 
We, for our part, are pleased to pardon you, 
Yet they will not so soon be satisfied. 

Cob. My gracious lord, unto your majesty, 
Next unto God [himself], I owe my life ; 
And what is mine, either by nature's gift, 
Or fortune's bounty, all is at your service. 
But for obedience to the pope of Rome. 
I owe him none ; nor shall his shaveling priests 
That are in England, alter my belief. 
If, out of Holy Scriptures they can prove 
That I am in an error, I will yield, 
And gladly take instruction at their hands : 
But otherwise, I do beseech your grace, 
My conscience may not be encroached upon. 

K. Hen. We would be loath to press our subjects' 
Much less their souls, the dear redeemed part 
Of Him that is the ruler of us all : 
Yet let me counsel you, that might command ; 
Do not presume to tempt them with ill words, 
Nor suffer any meetings to be had 
Within your house, but, to the uttermost, 
Disperse the flocks of this new gathering sect. 

Cob. My liege, if any breath that dares come forth, 
And say my life in any of these points 
Deserves th'attainder of ignoble thoughts : 
Here stand I, craving no remorse at all, 
But even the utmost rigor may be shown. 

K. Hen. Let it suffice we know your loyalty. 
What have you there ? 

Cob. A deed of clemency, 

Your highness' pardon for Lord Powis' life, 
Which I did beg, and you, my noble lord, 
Of gracious favor did vouchsafe to grant. 

K. Hen. But yet it is not signed with our hand. 

Cob. Not yet, my liege. 

K. Hen. The fact, you say. was done 

Not of prepensed' malice, but by chance. 

Co6. Upon mine honor so, no otherwise. 

K. Hen. [signs the pardon] . There is his pardon ; 
bid him make amends, 

1 Pretensed in the old copy ; and as this word anciently 
was made to signify intended or designed, it still might 
answer. But malice prepense or prepensed malice seems 
most legitimate. 

And cleanse his soul to God for his offence : 
What we remit, is but the body's scourge. — 

Enter Bishop of Rochester. 

How now, lord bishop ? 

Bishop. Justice, dread sovereign ! 

As thou art king, so grant I may have justice. 
K. Hen. What means this exclamation? Let us 

Bishop. Ah, my good lord, the state is much abused, 
And our decrees most shamefully profaned. 
K. Hen. How? and by whom? 
Bishop. Even by this heretic, 

This Jew, this traitor to your majesty. 

Cob. Prelate, thou liest even in thy greasy maw, 
Or whosoever twits me with the name 
Either of traitor or of heretic. 
K. Hen. Forbear, I say : and bishop, show the 
From whence this late abuse hath been derived. 

Bishop. Thus, mighty king. By general consent 
A messenger was sent to cite this lord 
To make appearance in the consistory : 
And, coming to his house, a ruffian slave, 
One of his daily followers, met the man, 
Who knowing him to be a paritor, 
Assaults him first, and after, in contempt 
Of us and our proceedings, makes him eat 
The written process, parchment, seal, and all : 
Whereby, this matter never was brought forth, 
And we but scorned for our authority. 
K. Hen. When was this done ? 
Bishop. At six o'clock this morning. 

K. Hen. And when came you to court ? 
Cob. Last night, my liege. 

K. Hen. By this, it seems, he is not guilty of it, 
And you have done him wrong to accuse him so. 

Bishop. But it was done, my lord, by his appoint- 
or else his man durst not have been so bold, [ment, 

K. Hen. Or else you durst be bold to interrupt 
And fill our ears with frivolous complaints. 
Is this the duty you do bear to us ? 
Was't not sufficient we did pass our word 
To send for him ; but you, misdoubting it, 
Or, which is worse, intending to forestall 
Our regal power, must likewise summon him? 
This savors of ambition, not of zeal, 
And rather proves you malice his estate, 
Than any way that he offends the law. 
Go to, we like it not : and he, your officer, 
Had his desert for being insolent, 
That was employed so much amiss herein. 
So, Cobham, when you please, you may depart. 
Cob. I humbly bid farewell unto my liege. 

[Exit Cobham. 
K. Hen. Farewell. [Enter Huntington. 

What's now the news by Huntington ? 
Hunt. Sir Roger Acton, and a crew, my lord, 
Of bold seditious rebels, are in arms, 
Intending reformation of religion, 
And with their army they intend to pitch 
In Ficket-field, unless they be repulsed. 
K. Hen. So near our presence ? Dare they be so 
And will proud war and eager thirst of blood, 
Whom we had thought to entertain far off, 
Press forth upon us in our native bounds ? 




Must we be forced to handsel our sharp blades 
In England here, which we prepared for France ? 
Well, in God's name be it. What's their number, say, 
Or who's the chief commander of this rout ? 

Hunt. Their number is not known as yet, my lord, 
But 'tis reported, Sir John Oldcastle 
Is the chief man, on whom they do depend. 

K. Hen. How ? the lord Cobham ? 

Hunt. Yes, my gracious lord. 

Bishop. I could have told your majesty as much 
Before he went, but that I saw your grace 
Was too much blinded by his flattery. 

Suff. Send post, my lord, to fetch him back again. 

But. Traitor unto his country ! how he smoothed 
And seemed as innocent as truth itself? 

K. Hen. I can not think it yet he would be false ; 
But, if he be, no matter ; — let him go : 
We'll meet both him and them unto their wo. 

[Exeunt King Henry, Suffolk, Huntington, 
and Butler. 

Bish. This falls out well ; and at the last, I hope 
To see this heretic dying in a rope. [Exit. 


SCENE I. — An Avenue leading to Lord Cobham's 
House in Kent. 

Enter Earl o/Cameridge, Lord Scroop, Sir Thomas 
Grey, and Chartres. 

Scroop. Once more, my lord of Cambridge, make 
How you do stand entitled to the crown : — 
The deeper shall we print it in our minds, 
And every man the better be resolved, 
When he perceives his quarrel to be just. 

Cam. Then thus, Lord Scroop, Sir Thomas Grey, 
and you, 
Monsieur de Chartres, agent for the French : — 
This Lionel, duke of Clarence (as I said), 
Third son of Edward (England's king) the Third, 
Had issue — Philippa, his sole daughter and heir ; 
Which Philippa afterward was given in marriage 
To Edmund Mortimer, the earl of March, 
And by him had a son called Roger Mortimer ; 
Which Roger likewise had of his descent, 
Edmund and Roger, Ann and Eleanor, 
Two daughters and two sons ; but of these, three 
Died without issue. Ann, that did survive, 
And now was left her father's only heir, 
My fortune 'twas to marry, being also, 
By my grandfather, of King Edward's line : 
So of his surname I am called, you know, 
Richard Plantagenet. My father was 
Edward, the duke of York, and son and heir 
To Edmund Langley, Edward the Third's fifth son. 

Scroop. So that it seems your claim comes by your 
As lawful heir to Roger Mortimer, [wife, 

The son of Edmund, which did marry Philippa, 
Daughter and heir to Lionel, duke of Clarence. 

Cam. True ; for this Harry, and his father both, 
Harry the Fourth, as plainly doth appear, 
Are false intruders, and usurp the crown. 
For when young Richard was at Pomfret slain, 
In him the title of Prince Edward died, 

That was the eldest of King Edward's sons. 
William of Hatfield, and their second brother, 
Death in his nonage had before bereft : 
So that my wife, derived from Lionel, 
Third son unto King Edward, ought succeed 1 
And take possession of the diadem 
Before this Harry or his father-king, 
Who fetch their title but from Lancaster, 
Fourth of that royal line. And being thus, 
What reason is't but she should have her right ? 

Scroop. I am resolved : our enterprise is just. 

Grey. Harry shall die, or else resign his crown. 

Char. Perform but that, and Charles, the king of 
Shall aid you, lords, not only with his men, [France, 
But send you money to maintain your wars : 
Five hundred thousand crowns he bade me proffer, 
If you can stop but Harry's voyage for France. 

Scroop. We never had a fitter time than now, 
The realm in such division as it is. 

Cam. Besides, you must persuade you there is due 
Vengeance for Richard's murder, which, although 
It be deferred, yet will it fall at last, 
And now as likely as another time. 
Sin hath had many years to ripen in, 
And now the harvest can not be far off, 
Wherein the weeds of usurpation 
Are to be cropped and cast into the fire. 

Scroop. No more, Earl Cambridge ; here I plight 
To set up thee and thy renowned wife. [my faith 

Grey. Grey will perform the same, as he is knight. 

Char. And, to assist ye, as I said before, 
Chartres doth 'gage the honor of his king. 

Scroop. We lack but now Lord Cobham's fellow- 
And then our plot were absolute indeed. [ sn 'P> 

Cam. Doubt not of him, my lord ; his life pursued 
By the incensed clergy, and, of late, 
Brought in displeasure with the king — assures 
He may be quickly won unto our faction. 
Who hath the articles were drawn at large 
Of our whole purpose ? 

Grey. That have I, my lord. 

Cam. We should not now be far off from his house ; 
Our serious conference hath beguiled thfc way: 
See where his castle stands ; give me the writing. 
When we are come unto the speech of him, 
Because we will not stand to make recount 
Of that which hath been said, here he shall read 
Our minds at large, and what we crave of him. 

Enter Lord Cobham. 

Scroop. A ready way. Here comes the man him- 
Booted and spurred : it seems he hath been riding. 

Cam. Well met, Lord Cobham. 

Cob. My lord of Cambridge, 

Your honor is most welcome into Kent, 
And all the rest of this fair company. 
I am new come from London, gentle lords ; 
But will ye not take Cowling 2 for your host,3 
And see what entertainment it affords ? 

Cam. We were intended to have b^en your guests : 
But now this lucky meeting shall suffice 
To end our business, and defer that kindness. 

1 " Proceed" is the word in the old copy, and was no doubt 
so in the original, but only in the sense of succeed or follow, 
so that the present word is the proper one. 

s Cowling was the name of Lord Cobham's seat in Kent 

3 Query : post ? 



Cob. Business, my lord ? what business should let 
You to be merry ? We have no delicates ; 
Yet this I'll promise you : a piece of venison, 
A cup of wine, and so forth — hunters' fare ; 
And, if you please, we'll strike the stag ; ourselves 
Shall fill our dishes with his well-fed flesh. 

Scroop. That is indeed the thing we all desire. 

Cob. My lords, and you shall have your choice with 

Cam. Nay, but the stag which we desire to strike 
Lives not in Cowling : if you will consent, 
And go with us, we'll bring you to a forest 
Where runs a lusty herd : among the which 
There is a stag superior to the rest ; 
A stately beast, that, when his fellows run, 
He leads the race, and beats the sullen earth 
As though he scorned it with his trampling hoofs ; 
Aloft he bears his head, and with his breast, 
Like a huge bulwark, counter-checks the wind ; 
And, when he standeth still, he stretcheth forth 
His proud ambitious neck, as if he meant 
To wound the firmament with forked horns. 

Cob. 'Tis pity such a goodly beast should die. 

Cam. Not so, Sir John, for he is tyrannous, 
And gores the other deer, and will not keep 
Within the limits are appointed him. 
Of late he's broke into a several, 
Which doth belong to me, and there he spoils 
Both corn and pasture. Two of his wild race, 
Alike for stealth and covetous encroaching, 
Already are removed ; — if he were dead, 
I should not only be secure from hurt, 
But with his body make a royal feast. 

Swoop. How say you, then ? will you first hunt 
with us ? 

Cob. 'Faith, lords, I like the pastime ; where's the 
place ? 

Cam. Peruse this writing : it will show you all, 
And what occasion we have for the sport. 

[ Presents the paper. 

Cob. [Reads]. Call ye this hunting, lords ? Is this 
the stag 
You fain would chase — Harry, our most dread king? 
So may we make a banquet for the devil, 
And, in the stead of wholesome meat, prepare 
A dish of poison to confound ourselves ! 

Cam. Why so, Lord Cobham ? See you not our 
And how imperiously he holds the crown ? [claim? 

Scroop. Besides, you know yourself is in disgrace, 
Held as a recreant, and pursued to death. 
This will defend you from your enemies, 
And 'stablish your religion through the land. 

Cob. [Aside]. Notorious treason ! yet I will conceal 
My secret thoughts, to sound the depth of it. 
My lord of Cambridge, I do see your claim, 
And what good may redound unto the land 
By prosecuting of this enterprise. 
But where are men? where's power and furniture 
To order such an action ? We are weak ; 
Harry, you know's a mighty potentate. 

Cam. Tut, we are strong enough ; you are beloved, 
And many will be glad to follow you ; 
We are the like, and some will follow us ; 
There's hope from France : here's an embassador 
That promiseth both men and money too. 
The commons likewise, as we hear, pretend 
A sudden tumult : we will join with them. 

Cob. Some likelihood, I must confess, to speed: 
But how shall I believe this in plain truth ? 
You are, my lords, such men as live in court, 
And have been highly favored of the king, 
Especially Lord Scroop, whom oftentimes 
He maketh choice of for his bed-fellow ; 
And you, Lord Grey, are of his privy council ; 
Is not this a train laid to entrap my life ? 

Cam. Then perish may my soul .' What ! think 
you so ? 

Scroop. We'll swear to you. 

Grey. Or take the sacrament- 

Cob. Nay, you are noblemen, and I imagine, 
As you are honorable by birth and blood, 
So you will be in heart, in thought, in word. 
I crave no other testimony but this : 
That you would all subscribe, and set your hands 
Unto this writing which you gave to me. 

Cam. With all our hearts. Who hath any pen and 

Scroop. My pocket should have one : 0, here it is. 

Cam. Give it me, Lord Scroop. There is my name. 

Scroop. And there is mine. 

Grey. And mine. 

Cob. Sir, let me crave 

That you would likewise write your name with theirs, 
For confirmation of your master's words, 
The king of France. 

Char. That will I, noble lord. 

Cob. So, now, this action is well knit together, 
And I am for you. Where's our meeting, lords ? 

Cam. Here, if you please, the tenth of July next. 

Cob. In Kent ? Agreed. Now let us in to supper; 
I hope your honors will not away to-night. 

Cam. Yes, presently, for I have far to ride, 
About soliciting of other friends. 

Scroop. And we would not be absent from the court, 
Lest thereby grow suspicion in the king. 

Cob. Yet taste a cup of wine before ye go. 

Cam. Not now, my lord, we thank you : so fare- 
well. [Exeunt Scroop, Grey, Cambridge, 
and Chartres. 

Cob. Farewell, my noble lords ! — my noble lords ! 
My noble villains, base conspirators ! 
How can they look his highness in the face, 
Whom they so closely study to betray ? 
But I'll not sleep until I make it known: 
This head shall not be burdened with such thoughts, 
Nor in this heart will I conceal a deed 
Of such impiety against my king. 
Madam, how now ? 

Enter Lady Cobham, Lord Powis, Lady Powis, and 

Lady Cob. You're welcome home, my lord. 

Why seem you so unquiet in your looks ? 
What hath befallen you that disturbs your mind ? 

Lady Pow. Bad news, I am afraid, touching my 

Cob. Madam, not so : there is your husband's par- 
Long may ye live, each joy unto the other ! 

Lady Pow. So great a kindness, as I know not how 
To make reply : my sense is quite confounded. 

Cob. Let that alone ; and, madam, stay me not, 
For I must back unto the court again, 
With all the speed I can. Harpool, my horse. 



Lady Cob. So soon, my lord ? what, will you ride 
all night ? 

Cob. All night or day: it must be so, sweet wife ; 
Urge me not why, or what my business is, 
But get you in. Lord Powis, bear with me. 
And, madam, think your welcome ne'er the worse ; 
My house is at your use. Harpool, away ! 

Har. Shall I attend your lordship to the court ? 

Cob. Yea, sir ; your gelding mount you presently. 

[Exit Cobham. 

Lady Cob. I prythee, Harpool, look unto thy lord ; 
I do not like this sudden posting back. 

Pow. Some earnest business is afoot, belike ; 
Whate'er it be, pray God be his good guide. 

Lady Pow. Amen, that hath so highly us bestead. 

Lady Cob. Come, madam, and my lord, we'll hope 
You shall not into Wales till he return. [the best ; 

Pow. Though great occasion be we should depart, 
Yet, madam, will we stay, to be resolved 
Of this unlooked-for, doubtful accident. [Exeunt. 

SCENE II. — ^1 Road near Highgate. 

Enter Murley and Followers. 

Mur. Come, my hearts of flint, modestly, decently, 
soberly, and handsomely ; no man afore his leader : 
follow your master, your captain, your knight that 
shall be, for the honor of mealmen, millers, and malt- 
men. Dun is the mouse. Dick and Tom, for the 
credit of Dunstable, ding down the enemy to-morrow. 
Ye shall not come into the field like beggars. Where 
be Leonard and Lawrence, my two loaders ? Lord 
have mercy upon us, what a world is this ! I would 
give a couple of shillings for a dozen of good feathers 
for ye, and forty pence for as many scarfs to set you 
out withal. Frost and snow ! a man has no heart to 
fight till he be brave. 

Dick. Master, we are no babes, our town footballs 
can bear witness ; this little : parel we have shall off, 
and we'll fight naked before we run away. 

Tom. Nay, I'm of Lawrence' mind for that, for he 
means to leave his life behind him ; he and Leonard, 
your two loaders, are making their wills, because 
they have wives ; now, we bachelors bid our friends 
scramble for our goods if we die. But, master, pray 
let me ride upon Cut. 

Mur. Meal and salt, wheat and malt, fire and tow, 
frost and snow ! why, Tom, thou shalt. Let me see : 
here are you ; William and George are with my cart ; 
and Robin and Hodge holding my own two horses ; 
proper men, handsome men, tall men, true men. 

Dick. But, master, master, methinks you are mad 
to hazard your own person, and a cartload of money 

Tom. Yea, and master, there's a worse matter 
in't : if it be, as I heard say, we go fight against all 
the learned bishops, that should give us their bles- 
sing, and if they curse us, we shall speed ne'er the 

Dick. Nay, by'r lady, some say the king takes their 
part ; and, master, dare you fight against the king ? 

Mur. Fie ! paltry, paltry ; in and out, to and fro, 
upon occasion ; if the king be so unwise to come 
there, we'll fight with him too. 

Tom. What if ye should kill the king. 

Mur. Then we'll make another. 

Dick. Is that all ? Do ye not speak treason ? 

Mur. If we do, who dare trip us? We come to 
fight for our conscience and for honor. Little know 
you what is in my bosom : look here, mad knaves, a 
pair of gilt spurs. 

Tom. A pair of golden spurs ? Why do you not 
put them on your heels ? Your bosom's no place for 

Mur. Be't more or less upon occasion, Lord have 
mercy upon us. Tom, thou'rt a fool, and thou 
speak'st treason to knighthood. Dare any wear gold 
or silver spurs, till he be a knight ? No, I shall be 
knighted to-morrow, and then they shall on. Sirs, 
was it ever read in the church-book of Dunstable, that 
ever malt-man was made knight? 

Tom. No ; but you are more ; you are meal-man, 
malt-man, miller, corn-master, and all. 

Dick. Yea, and half a brewer too, and the devil and 
all for wealth. You bring more money with you than 
all the rest. 

Mur. The more's my honor. I shall be a knight to- 
morrow. Let me 'spose my men ; — Tom upon Cut, 
Dick upon Hob, Hodge upon Ball, Ralph upon Sorrel, 
and Robin upon the fore-horse. 

Enter Acton, Bourn, and Beverley. 

Tom. Stand : who comes there ? 

Acton. All friends, good fellow. 

Mur. Friends and fellows, indeed, Sir Roger. 

Acton. Why, thus you show yourself a gentleman, 
To keep your day, and come so well prepared. 
Your cart stands yonder guarded by your men, 
Who tell me it is laden well with coin ; 
What sum is there ? 

Mur. Ten thousand pound, Sir Roger ; and mod- 
estly, decently, soberly, and handsomely, see what I 
have here, against I be knighted. 

Acton. Gilt spurs? 'Tis well. 

Mur. Where's our army, sir? 

Acton. Dispersed in sundry villages about ; 
Some here with us in Highgate, some at Finchley, 
Tot'nam, Enfield, Edmunton, Newington, 
Islington, Hogsdon, Pancras, Kensington ; 
Some nearer Thames, Ratcliff, Blackwall, and Bow: 
But our chief strength must be the Londoners, 
Which, ere the sun to-morrow shine, 
Will be near fifty thousand in the field. 

Mur. Marry, God dild ye, dainty my dear ; but 
upon occasion, Sir Roger Acton, doth not the king 
know of it, and gather his power against us ? 

Acton. No, he's secure at Eltham. 

Mur. What do the clergy ? 

Acton. They fear extremely, yet prepare no force. 

Mur. In and out, to and fro ; bully my boykin, we 
shall carry the world afore us. I vow, by my wor- 
ship, when I am knighted, we'll take the king nap- 
ping, if he stand on their part. 

Acton. This night we few in High-gate will repose ; 
With the first cock we'll rise and arm ourselves, 
To be in Ficket-field by break of day, 
And there expect our general, Sir John Oldcastle, 

Mur. What if he comes not ? 

Bourn. Yet our action stands ; 
Sir Roger Acton may supply his place. 

Mur. True, Master Bourn, but who shall make me 
knight ? 

Bev. He that hath power to be our general. 



Act. Talk not of trifles ; come, let us away, 
Our friends of London long till it be day. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III.— A High Road in Kent. 

Enter Sir John o/Wrotham, and Doll. 

Doll. By my troth, thou art as jealous a man as 

Sir John. Canst thou blame me, Doll ? thou art my 
lands, my goods, my jewels, my wealth, my purse ; 
none walks within forty miles of London, but supplies 
thee as truly, as the parish does the poor man's box. 

Boll. I am as true to thee as the stone is in the 
wall, and thou knowest well enough I was in as good 
doing, when I came to thee, as any wench need to be : 
and therefore thou hast tried me, — that thou hast: 
and I will not be kept as I have been, that I will not. 

Sir John. Doll, if this blade hold, there's not a 
pedlar walks with a pack, but thou shalt as boldly 
choose of his wares, as with thy ready money in a 
merchant's shop ; we'll have as good silver as the 
king coins any. 

Doll. What, is all the gold spent you took the last 
day from the courtier ? 

Sir John. 'Tis gone, Doll, 'tis flown ; merrily come, 
merrily gone ; he comes a-horseback that must pay 
for all ; we'll have as good meat as money can get, 
and as good gowns as can be bought for gold : be 
merry, wench ; the malt-man comes on Monday. 

Doll. You might have left me at Cobham, until 
you had been belter provided for. 

Sir John. No, sweet Doll, no ; I like not that ; yon 
old ruffian is not for the priest : I do not like a new 
clerk should come in the old belfrey. 

Doll. Thou art a mad priest, i'faith. 

Sir John. Come, Doll, I'll see thee safe at some 
alehouse here at Cray, and the next sheep that comes, 
shall leave behind his fleece. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV.— Blackheath. 
Enter King Henry, disguised ; Suffolk, and Butler. 

K. Hen. My lord of Suffolk, post away for life, 
And let our forces, of such horse and foot, 
As can be gathered up by any means, 
Make speedy rendezvous in Tothill-fields. 
It must be done this evening, my good lord ; 
This night the rebels mean to draw to head 
Near Islington ; which, if your speed prevent not — 
If once they should unite their several forces — 
Their power is almost thought invincible. 
Away, my lord, I will be with you soon. 

Suff. I go, my sovereign, with all happy speed. 

K. Hen. Make haste, my lord of Suffolk, as you 
love us. [Exit Suffolk. 

Butler, post you to London with all speed : 
Command the mayor and sheriffs, on their allegiance, 
The city-gates be presently shut up, 
And guarded with a strong sufficient watch, 
And not a man be suffered to pass, 
Without a special warrant from ourself. 
Command the postern by the tower be kept, 
And proclamation, on the pain of death, 
That not a citizen stir from his doors, 
Except such as the mayor and sheriffs shall choose 
For their own guard, and safety of their persons : 
Butler, away, have care unto thy 1 charge. 

1 Written, " my charge," elsewhere. 

But. I go, my sovereign. 

K. Hen. Butler ! 

But. My lord ? 

K. Hen. Go down by Greenwich, and command a 
At the Friars-bridge attend my coming down. 

But. I will, my lord. [Exit Butler. 

K. Hen. 'Tis time, I think, to look unto rebellion, 
When Acton doth expect unto his aid, 
No less than fifty thousand Londoners. 
Well, I'll to Westminster in this disguise, 
To hear what news is stirring in these brawls. 

Enter Sir John of Wrotham, and Doll. 

Sir John. Stand, true-man, says a thief. 

K. Hen. Stand, thief, says a true man : how if a 

Sir John. Stand, thief, too. 

K. Hen. Then, thief or true-man, I must stand, I 
Howsoe'er the world wags, trade of thieving yet 
Will never down. What art thou ? 

Sir John. A good fellow. 

K. Hen. And so am I, too ; I see that thou dost 
know me. 

Sir John. If thou be a good fellow, play the good 
fellow's part ; deliver thy purse without more ado. 

K. Hen. I have no money. 

Sir John. I must make you find some before we part. 
If you have no money, you shall have ware ; as many 
sound blows as your skin can carry. 

K. Hen. Is that the plain truth ? 

Sir John. Sirrah, no more ado ; come, come ; give 
me the money you have. Despatch, I can not stand 
all day. 

K. Hen. Well, if thou wilt needs have it, there it 
is : just the proverb, one thief robs another. Where 
the devil are all my old thieves ? Falstaff, that vil- 
lain, is so fat, he can not get on's horse ; but me- 
thinks Poins and Peto should be stirring hereabouts. 

Sir John. How much is there on't,o'thy word? 

K. Hen. A hundred pound in angels, on my word. 
The time has been I would have done as much 
For thee, if thou hadst past this way, as I 
Have now. 

Sir John. Sirrah, what art thou? thou seem'st a 

K. Hen. I am no less ; yet a poor one now, for thou 
hast all my money. 

Sir John. From whence cam'st thou ? 

K. Hen. From the court at Eltham. 

Sir John. Art thou one of the king's servants? 

K. Hen. Yes, that I am, and one of his chamber. 

Sir John. I am glad thou'rt no worse : thou may'st 
the better spare thy money. I think thou might'st 
get a poor thief his pardon if he should have need. 

K. Hen. Yes, that I can. 

Sir John. Wilt thou do so much for me, when I 
shall have occasion ? 

K. Hen. Yes, faith will I, so it be for no murder. 

Sir John. Nay, I am a pitiful thief; all the hurt I 
do a man, I take but his purse : I'll kill no man. 

K. Hen. Then, on my word, I'll do't. 

Sir John. Give me thy hand on the same. 

K. Hen. There 'tis. 

Sir John. Methinks the king should be good to 



thieves, because he has been a thief himself, although 
I think now he be turned a true man. 

K. Hen. 'Faith, I have heard, indeed, he has had 
an ill name that way in his youth : but how canst 
thou tell that he has been a thief? 

Sir John. How? because he once robbed me before 
I fell to the trade myself, when that foul villanous 
guts, that led him to all that roguery, was in his 
company there ; that Falstaff. 

K. Hen. [aside]. Well, if he did rob thee then, thou 
art but even with him, now, I'll be sworn. Thou 
knowest not the king now, I think, if thou sawest 

Sir John. Not I, i'faith. 

K. Hen. [aside] . So it should seem. 

Sir John. Well, if old King Harry had lived, this 
king, that is now, had made thieving the best trade in 

K. Hen. Why so ? 

Sir John. Because he was the chief warden of our 
company. It's pity that e'er he should have been a 
king, he was so brave a thief. But, sirrah, wilt re- 
member my pardon, if need be ? 

K. Hen. Yes, faith, will I. 

Sir John. Wilt thou ? well, then, because thou shalt 
go safe, for thou may'st hap (being so early) be met 
with again before thou come to Southwark, if any 
man when he should bid thee good morrow, bid thee 
stand, say thou but Sir John, and they will let thee 

K. Hen. Is that the word? then let me alone. 

Sir John. Nay, sirrah, because I think, indeed, I 
shall have some occasion to use thee, and as thou 
comest oft this way, I may light on thee another time, 
not knowing thee, here, I'll break this angel; take 
thou half of it ; this is a token betwixt thee and me. 

K. Hen. God-a-mercy : farewell. [Exit. 

Sir John. 0,-my fine golden slaves ! here's for thee, 
wench, i'faith. Now, Doll, we will revel in our bever, 1 
this is a tythe pig of my vicarage. God-a-mercy, 
neighbor Shooter's Hill, you ha' paid your tythe hon- 
estly. Well, I hear there is a company of rebels up 
against the king, got together in Ficket-field, near 
Holborn, and as it is thought, here in Kent, the king 
will be there to-night in his own person. Well, I'll 
to the king's camp, and it shall go hard, if there be 
any doings, but I'll make some good boot among 
them. [Exeunt. 


SCENE I. — A Field near London. King Henry's 

Enter King Henry, disguised ; Suffolk, Huntington, 
and Attendants, with torches. 

K. Hen. My lords of Suffolk and of Huntington, 
Who scouts it now? or who stand sentinels? 
What men of worth ? what lords do walk the round ? 

Suff. May't please your highness — 

K. Hen. Peace, no more of that : — 
The king's asleep, wake not his majesty, 

1 Bever was the intermediate refreshment between break- 
fast and dinner. The term is now used among harvestmen 
and other laborers. It is a meal between meals. 

With terms or titles ; he's at rest in bed. 

Kings do not use to watch themselves ; they sleep, 

And let rebellion and conspiracy 

Revel and havoc in the commonwealth. 

Is London looked unto ? 

Hunt. It is, my lord : 

Your noble uncle, Exeter, is there, — 
Your brother Gloster, and my lord of Warwick ; 
Who, with the mayor and the aldermen, 
Do guard the gates, and keep good rule within. 
The earl of Cambridge and Sir Thomas Grey 
Do walk the round ; Lord Scroop and Butler scout ; 
So, though it please your majesty to jest, 
Were you in bed, you well might take your rest. 

K. Hen. I thank ye, lords : but you do know of old, 
That I have been a perfect night-walker. 
London, you say, is safely looked unto, 
Alas, poor rebels, there your aid must fail ; 
And the lord Cobham, Sir John Oldcastle, 
Quiet in Kent. Acton, you are deceived : 
Reckon again ; you count without your host. 
To-morrow you shall give account to us ; 
Till when, my friends, this long, cold winter's night, 
How can we spend ? King Harry is asleep, 
And all his lords ; these garments tell us so ; 
All friends at football, fellows all in field. 
Harry, and Dick, and George. Bring us a drum, 
Give us square dice ; we'll keep this court of guard, 
For all good fellows' companies that come. 
Where's that mad priest ye told me was in arms 
To fight, as well as pray, if need required ? 

Suff. He's in the camp, and if he knew of this, 
I undertake he would not long be hence. 

K. Hen. Trip Dick, trip George. [Here] I must 
have the dice : 
What do we play at ? J 

Suff. Passage, 3 if ye please. 

Hunt. Set round, then : so ; at all. 

K. Hen. George, you are out. 

Give me the dice; — I pass for twenty pound; — 
Here's to our lucky passage into France. 

Hunt. Harry, you pass, indeed, for you sweep all. 

Suff. A sign King Harry shall sweep all in France. 

Enter Sir John o/Wrotham. 

Sir John. Edge ye, good fellows ; take a fresh 
gamester in. 

K. Hen. Master parson, we play nothing but gold? 

Sir John. And, fellow, I tell thee that the priest 
hath gold, gold ! what ? ye are but beggarly soldiers 
to me ; I think I have more gold than all you three. 

Hunt. It may be so, but we believe it not. 

K Hen. Set, priest, set : I pass for all that gold. 

Sir John. Ye pass, indeed. 

K. Hen. Priest, hast any more? 

Sir John. More ? what a question's that ? 
I tell thee, I have more than all you three. 
At these ten angels. 

K. Hen. I wonder how thou comest by all this gold. 
How many benefices hast thou, priest ? 

2 This sentence, in the old copies, is given to Huntington. 

3 Passage was a game at tables— so Steevens. But this 
tells us nothing. Passage was a game at dice, played with 
three dice, and with only two persons. The caster throws 
continually till he has thrown doublets under ten, and then 
he is out, and loses ; or doublets above ten, and then he 
passes and wins ; high runners are most requisite for this 
game, such as will rarely run any other chance than four, 
five, or six, by which means, if the caster throws doublets, 
he scarcely can throw out. 



Sir John. 'Faith, but one. Dost wonder howl come 
by gold ? I wonder rather how poor soldiers should 
have gold : for I'll tell thee, good fellow, we have ev- 
ery day tithes, offerings, christenings, weddings, buri- 
als ; and you poor snakes come seldom to a booty. 
I'll speak a proud word : I have but one parsonage; 
Wrotham ; 'tis better than the bishopric of Roches- 
ter ; there's ne'er a hill, heath, nor down, in all Kent, 
but 'tis in my parish ; Barrham-down, Cobham-down, 
Gad's-hill, Wrotham-hill, Black-heath, Cocks'-heath, 
Birchen- wood — all pay me tithe. Gold, quoth-a ? ye 
pass not for that. 

Suff. Harry, you are out ; now, parson, shake the 

Sir John. Set, set; I'll cover ye; at all. A plague 
on't, I am out : the devil, and dice, and a wench; who 
will trust them ? 

Suff. Say'st thou so, priest ? set fair; at all for once. 

K. Hen. Out, sir ; pay all. 

Sir John. Sir, pay me angel gold ; 

I'll none of your cracked French crowns nor pistolets, 
Pay me fair angel gold, as I pay you. 

K. Hen. No cracked French crowns [do you say] ? 
I hope to see 
More cracked French crowns ere long. 

Sir John.. Thou mean'st of Frenchmen's crowns, 
when the king's in France. 

Hunt. Set round ; at all. 

Sir John. Pay all : this is some luck. 

K. Hen. Give me the dice ; 'tis I must shred the 
priest. At all, Sir John. 

Sir John. The devil and all is yours. At that. 
'Sdeath ! what casting's this ? 

Suff. Well thrown, Harry, i'faith. 

K. Hen. I'll cast better yet. 

Sir John. Then I'll be hanged. Sirrah, hast thou 
not given thy soul to the devil for casting ? 

K. Hen. I pass for all. 

Sir John. Thou passest all that e'er I played with- 
Sirrah, dost thou not cog, nor foist, nor slurr ? [al : 

K. Hen. Set, parson, set ; the dice die in my hand. 
When, parson, when? what, can ye find no more ? 
Already dry ? was't you bragged of your store ? 

Sir John. All's gone but that. 

Hunt. What, half a broken angel? 

Sir John. Why, sir, 'tis gold. 

K. Hen. Yea, and I'll cover it. 

Sir John. The devil give ye good on't ! I am blind. 
You have blown me up. 

K. Hen. Nay, tarry, priest ; you shall not leave us 
Do not these pieces fit each other well? [yet : 

Sir John. What if they do ? 

K. Hen. Thereby begins a tale : — 

There was a thief, in face much like Sir John, 
But 'twas not he — that thief was all in green — 
Met me last day on Black-heath, near the park ; 
With him a woman. I was all alone 
And weaponless ; my boy had all my tools, 
And was before, providing me a boat. 
Short tale to make, Sir John — the thief, I mean — 
Took a just hundred pound in gold from me. 
I stormed at it, and swore to be revenged 
If e'er we met ; he, like a lusty thief, 
Brake with his teeth this angel just in two, 
To be a token at our meeting next, 
Provided I should charge no officer 
To apprehend him, but at weapon's point 

Recover that, and what he had beside. 
Well met, Sir John : betake ye to your tools, 
By torchlight ; for, master parson, you are he 
That had my gold. 

Sir John. 'Zounds ! I won it in play, in fair square 
play, of the keeper of Eltham-park ; and that I will 
maintain with this poor whyniard. Be you two hon- 
est men to stand and look upon us and let us alone, 
and neither part? 

K. Hen. Agreed ; I charge ye do not budge a foot. 
Sir John, have at ye ! 

Sir John. Soldier, 'ware your sconce. 

As they are preparing to engage, enter, and 
draws his sword to part them. 

But. Hold, villain, hold ! My lords, what do ye 

To see a traitor draw against the king ? [mean, 

Sir John. The king ? God's will ! I'm in a proper 

K. Hen. Butler, what news ? why dost thou trouble 

us ? 
But. Please it, your majesty, it is break of day, 
And as I scouted near to Islington, 
The gray-eyed morning gave me glimmering 
Of armed men coming down Highgate-hill, 
Who, by their course, are coasting hitherward. 

K. Hen. Let us withdraw, my lords ; prepare our 
To charge the rebels, if there be such cause, [troops 
For this lewd priest, this devilish hypocrite, 
That is a thief, a gamester, and what not, 
Let him be hanged up for example's sake. 

Sir John. Not so, my gracious sovereign. I con- 
fess I am a frail man — flesh and blood as other are ; 
but set my imperfections aside, ye have not a taller 
man, nor a truer subject to the crown and state, than 
Sir John of Wrotham is. 

K. Hen. Will a true subject rob his king ? 

Sir John. Alas ! 'twas ignorance and want, my gra- 
cious liege. 

K. Hen. 'Twas want of grace. Why, you should 
To season others with good document ; [be as salt 
Your lives, as lamps to give the people light ; 
As shepherds, not as wolves to spoil the flock : 
Go hang him, Butler. 

But. Didst thou not rob me ? 

Sir John. I must confess I saw some of your gold ; 
but, my dread lord, I am in no humor for death : God 
wills that sinners live : do not you cause me to die. 
Once in their lives the best may go astray, 
And if the world say true, yourself, my liege, 
Have been a thief. 

K. Hen. I do confess I have, 

But I repent and have reclaimed myself. 

Sir John. So will I do, if you will give me time. 

K. Hen. Wilt thou ? My lords, will you be sure- 
ties ? 

Hunt. That, when he robs again, he shall be hanged. 

Sir John. I ask no more. 

K. Hen. And we will grant thee that. 

Live and repent, and prove an honest man ; 
Which, when I hear, and safe return from France, 
I'll give thee living: till when, lake thy gold, 
But spend it better than at cards or wine, 
For better virtues fit that coat of thine. 

Sir John. Vivat rex, et currat lex. My liege, if ye 
have cause of battle, ye shall see Sir John bestir him- 
self in your quarrel. [Exeunt. 



SCENE 11. — A Field of Battle near London. 

Alarum. Enter King Henry, Suffolk, Huntington ; 
Sir John bringing in Acton, Beverley, and Mur- 
ley, Prisoners. 

K. Hen. Bring in those traitors, whose aspiring 
Thought to have triumphed in our overthrow, [minds 
But now ye see, base villains, what success 
Attends ill actions wrongfully attempted. 
Sir Roger Acton, thou retain'st the name 
Of knight, and shouldst be more discreetly tempered 
Than join with peasants ; gentry is divine, 
But thou hast made it more than popular. 

Acton. Pardon, my lord ; my conscience urged me 
to it. 

K. Hen. Thy conscience ! then thy conscience is 
For in thy conscience thou art bound to us, 
And in thy conscience thou shouldst love thy country ; 
Else what's the difference betwixt a Christian 
And the uncivil manners of the Turk ? 

Bev. We meant no hurt unto your majesty, 
But reformation of religion. 

K. Hen. Reform religion ? was it that you sought ? 
I pray who gave you that authority ? 
Belike, then, we do hold the sceptre up, 
And sit within the throne but for a cipher. 
Time was, good subjects would make known their 
And pray amendment, not enforce the same, [grief, 
Unless their king were tyrant ; which I hope 
You can not justly say that Harry is 
What is that other ? 

Suff. A malt-man, my lord, 

And dwelling in Dunstable, as he says. 

K. Hen. Sirrah, what made you leave your barley- 
To come in armor thus against your king ? [broth, 

Mur. Fie ! paltry, paltry, to and fro, in and out up- 
on occasion, what a world is this ! Knighthood, my 
liege ; 'twas knighthood brought me hither ; they told 
me I had wealth enough to make my wife a lady. 

K. Hen. And so you brought those horses which 
we saw 
Trapped all in costly furniture, and meant 
To wear these spurs when you were knighted once ? 

Mur. In and out upon occasion, I did. 

K. Hen. In and out upon occasion, therefore, 
You shall be hanged, and in the stead of wearing 
These spurs upon your heels, about your neck 
They shall bewray your folly to the world. 

Sir John. In and out upon occasion, that goes hard. 

Mur. Fie ! paltry, paltry, to and fro. Good my 
liege, a pardon ; I am sorry for my fault. 

K. Hen. That comes too late : but tell me, went 
Beside Sir Roger Acton, upon whom [there none 

You did depend to be your governor ? 

Mur. None, my lord, but Sir John Oldcastle. 

K. Hen. Bears he a part in this conspiracy ? 

Acton. We looked, my lord, that he would meet us 

K. Hen. But did he promise you that he would 
come ? 

Acton. Such letters we received forth of Kent. 

Enter the Bishop of Rochester. 

Bish. Where is my lord the king ? Health to your 

Examining, my lord, some of these rebels, 
It is a general voice among them all, 
That they had never come into this place, 
But to have met their valiant general, 
The good Lord Cobham, as they title him : 
Whereby, my lord, your grace may now perceive 
His treason is apparent, which before 
He sought to color by his flattery. 

K. Hen. Now, by my royalty, I would have sworn, 
But for his conscience, which I bear withal, 
There had not lived a more true-hearted subject. 

Bish. It is but counterfeit, my gracious lord, 
And therefore may it please your majesty 
To set your hand unto this precept here, 
By which we'll cause him forthwith to appear, 
And answer this by order of the law. 

K. Hen. Not only that, but take commission 
To search, attach, imprison, and condemn, 
This most notorious traitor as you please. 

Bish. It shall be done, my lord, without delay. 
So now I hold, Lord Cobham, in my hand, 
That which shall finish thy disdained life. 

[Aside and exit. 

K. Hen. I think the iron age begins but now, 
Which learned poets have so often taught, 
Wherein there is no credit to be given 
To either words, or looks, or solemn oaths : 
For if there were, how often hath he sworn, 
How gently tuned the music of his tongue, 
And with what amiable face beheld he me, 
When all, God knows, was but hypocrisy ! 

Enter Coeham. 

Cob. Long life and prosperous reign unto my lord ! 

K. Hen. Ah ! villain, canst thou wish prosperity, 
Whose heart includeth naught but treachery ? 
I do arrest thee here myself, false knight, 
Of treason capital against the state. 

Cob. Of treason, mighty prince ? your grace mis- 
I hope it is but in the way of mirth. 

K. Hen. Thy neck shall feel it is in earnest shortly! 
Dar'st thou intrude into our presence, knowing 
How heinously thou hast offended us ? 
But this is thy accustomed deceit. 
Now, thou perceivest thy purpose is in vain, 
With some excuse or other thou wilt come 
To clear thyself of this rebellion. 

Cob. Rebellion, good my lord ? I know of none. 

K. Hen. If you deny it, here is evidence : 
See you these men ? You never counselled 
Nor offered them assistance in their wars ? 

Cob. Speak, sirs ; not one, but all : I crave no favor ! 
Have ever I been conversant with you ? 
Or written letters to encourage you ? 
Or kindled but the least or smallest part 
Of this your late unnatural rebellion ? 
Speak, for I dare the uttermost you can. 

Mur. In and out upon occasion, I know you not. 

K. Hen. No ? didst thou not say that Sir John Old- 
Was one with whom you purposed to have met ? 

Mur. True, I did say so, but in what respect ? — 
Because I heard it was reported so. 

K. Hen. Was there no other argument but that ? 

Acton. To clear my conscience ere I die, my lord, 
1 must confess we have no other ground, 



But only rumor to accuse this lord, 
Which now I see was merely fabulous. 

K. Hen. The more pernicious you to taint him, then, 
Whom you know was not faulty, yea or no. 

Cob. Let this, my lord, which I present your grace, 
Speak for my loyalty. Read these articles, 
And then give sentence of my life or death. 

K. Hen. Earl Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey, cor- 
With bribes from Charles of France, either to win 
My crown from me, or secretly contrive 
My death by treason ! Is't possible ? 

Cob. There is the platform — and their hands, my 
Each severally subscribed to the same. [lord, 

K. Hen. Oh, never-heard-of. base ingratitude ! 
Even those I hug within my bosom most, 
Are readiest evermore to sting my heart. 
Pardon me, Cobham, I have done thee wrong ; 
Hereafter I will live to make amends. 
Is, then, their time of meeting so near at hand? 
We'll meet with them but little for their ease, 
If God permit. Go, take these rebels hence : 
Let them have martial law ; but as for thee, 
Friend to thy king and country, still be free ! 

[Exeunt King Henry and Cobham. 

Mur. Be it more or less, what a world is this ! 
Would I had continued still of the order of knaves, 
And ne'er sought knighthood, since it costs so dear. 
Sir Roger, I may thank you for it all. 

Acton. Now 'tis too late to have it remedied, 
I pr'ythee, Murley, do not urge me with it. 

Hunt. Will you away, and make no more to-do ? 

Mur. Fie ! paltry, paltry, to and fro, as occasion 
serves ; if you be so hasty, take my place. 

Hunt. No. good sir knight, e'en take it for yourself. 

Mur. I could be glad to give my betters place. 


SCENE III. — A Room in Lord Cobham's House in 
Kent. 1 

Enter Cambridge, Scroop, and Grey. They sit down 
at a Table. King Henry, Cobham, and other Lords, 
listening at the door. 

Cam. In mine opinion, Scroop hath well advised : 
Poison will be the only aptest mean, 
And fittest for our purpose, to despatch him. 

Grey. But yet there may be doubt in the delivery ; 
Harry is wise, and therefore, earl of Cambridge, 
I judge that way not so convenient. 

Scroop. What think ye, then, of this? I am his 
And unsuspected nightly sleep with him. [bedfellow, 
What if I venture in those silent hours, 
When sleep hath sealed up all mortal eyes, 
To murder him in bed ? How like ye that ? 

Cam. Herein consists no safety for yourself, 
And you disclosed, what shall become of us ? 
But this day, as ye know, he will aboard — 
The wind's so fair — and set away for France : 
If, as he goes, or entering in the ship, 
It might be done — then were it excellent. 

Grey. Why, any of these, or if you will, I'll cause 

1 This scene, in previous editions, made the opening scene 
of the fifth act, but improperly, as it would then have shown 
Cobham arrested by the bishop before having assisted at the 
detection of the conspirators. I have transposed several of 
the scenes in the fourth and fifth acts, which were out of 
place in old editions. 

A present sitting of the council, wherein 
I will pretend some matter of such weight, 
As needs must have his royal company ; 
And so despatch him in his council-chamber. 

Cam. Tush ! yet I hear not anything to purpose. 
I wonder that Lord Cobham stays so long ; — 
His counsel in this case would much avail us. 

Scroop. What, shall we rise thus, and determine 
nothing ? 

[The King advances with his Lords. 

K. Hen. That were a shame, indeed : no, sit again, 
And you shall have my counsel in this case. 
If you can find no way to kill the king, 
Then you shall see how I can furnish ye. 
Scroop's way, by poison, was indifferent, 
But yet, being bedfellow to the king, 
And unsuspected, sleeping in his bosom, 
In mine opinion that's the likelier way ; 
For such false friends are able to do much, 
And silent night is treason's fittest friend. 
Now, Cambridge, in his setting hence for France, 
Or by the way, or as he goes aboard, 
To do the deed — that was indifferent too, 
But somewhat doubtful. 

Marry, Lord Grey came very near the point — 
To have the king at council, and there murder him, 
As Caesar was among his dearest friends. 
Tell me, oh tell me, you bright honor's stains, 
For which of all my kindnesses to you 
Are ye become thus traitors to your king, 
And France must have the spoil of Harry's life ? 

All. Oh ! pardon us, dread lord. 

K. Hen. How ! pardon ye ? that were a sin indeed. 
Drag them to death, which justly they deserve : 
And France shall dearly buy this villany, 
So soon as we set footing on her breast. 
God have the praise for our deliverance ! — 
And next, our thanks, Lord Cobham, unto thee, 
True, perfect mirror of nobility. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. — Kent. Court before Lord Cobham's 

Enter Bishop of Rochester, Lord Warden of the 
Cinque Ports, Cromer, Lady Cobham, and Attend- 

Bish. I tell ye, lady, 'tis not possible 
But you should know where he conveys himself; 
And you have hid him in some secret place. 

Lady Cob. My lord, believe me, as I have a soul, 
I know not where my lord, my husband, is. 

Bish. Go to, go to ; you are a heretic, 
And will be forced by torture to confess, 
If fair means will not serve to make you tell. 

Lady Cob. My husband is a noble gentleman, 
And need not hide himself for any fact 
That e'er I heard of; therefore wrong him not. 

Bish. Your husband is a dangerous schismatic, 
Traitor to God, the king, and commonwealth ; 
And therefore, Master Cromer, sheriff of Kent, 
I charge you take her to your custody, 
And seize the goods of Sir John Oldcastle 
To the king's use : let her go in no more, 
To fetch so much as her apparel out ; 
There is your warrant from his majesty. 

Lord War. Good my lord bishop, pacify your wrath 
Against the lady. 



Bish. Then let her confess 

Where Oldcastle, her husband, is concealed. 

Lord War. I dare engage mine honor and my life, 
Poor gentlewoman, she is ignorant 
And innocent of all his practices 
If any evil by him be practised. 

Bish. If, my lord warden ? Nay, then I charge you 
That all the cinque-ports whereof you are chief, 
Be laid forthwith, that he escape us not. 
Show him his highness' warrant, master sheriff. 

Lord War. I am sorry for the noble gentleman. 

Bish. Peace ! here he comes : now do your office, 
Enter Cobham and Harpool. 

Cob. Harpool, what business have we here in hand ? 
What makes the bishop and the sheriff here ? 
I fear my coming home is dangerous : 
I would I had not made such haste to Cowling. 

Har. Be of good cheer, my lord : if they be foes, 
We'll scramble shrewdly with them ; if they be friends, 
They are welcome. 

Crom. Sir John Oldcastle, Lord Cobham, in the 
king's name, I arrest you of high-treason. 

Co6. Treason, Master Cromer? 

Har. Treason, master sheriff? what treason ? 

Cob. Harpool, I charge thee stir not, but be quiet. 
Do ye arrest me of treason, master sheriff? 

Bish. Yea, of high-treason, traitor, heretic ! 

Cob. Defiance in his face that calls me so ! 
I am a loyal gentleman ; as true 
Unto his highness as my proudest enemy. 
The king shall witness my late faithful service, 
For safety of his sacred majesty. 

Bish. What thou art, the king's hand shall testify : 
Show him, lord warden. 

Cob. Jesu defend me ! 

Is't possible your cunning could so temper 
The princely disposition of his mind, 
To sign the damage of a loyal subject? 
Well, the best is, it bears an antedate, 
Procured by my absence and your malice. 
But I, since that, have showed myself as true 
As any churchman that dare challenge me. 
Let me be brought before his majesty : 
If he acquit me not, then do your worst. 

Bish. We are not bound to do kind offices 
For any traitor, schismatic, or heretic: 
The king's hand is our warrant for our work, 
Who is departed on his way for France, 
And at Southampton doth repose this night. 

Har. that thou and I were within twenty miles 
of it, on Salisbury plain ! I would lose my head if 
thou brought'st thy head hither again. [Aside. 

Cob. My lord warden o' the cinque-ports, and lord 
of Rochester, ye are joint commissioners: favor me 
so much on my expense, to bring me to the king. 

Bish. What, to Southampton ? 

Cob. Thither, my good lord ; 

And if he do not clear me of all guilt, 
And all suspicion of conspiracy, 
Pawning his princely warrant for my truth — 
I ask no favor, but extremest torture. 
Bring me, or send me to him, good my lord ; 
Good my lord warden, master sheriff, entreat. 

[They both entreat for him. 
Come hither, lady ; nay, sweet wife, forbear 

To heap one sorrow on another's neck. 

'Tis grief enough falsely to be accused, 

And not permitted to acquit myself: 

Do not thou, with thy kind, respective tears, 

Torment thy husband's heart that bleeds for thee, 

But be of comfort. God hath help in store 

For those that put assured trust in him. 

Dear wife, if they commit me to the Tower, 

Come up to London to your sister's house ; 

That, being near me, you may comfort me. 

One solace find I settled in my soul — 

That I am free from treason's very thought : 

Only my conscience, for the gospel's sake, 

Is cause of all the troubles I sustain. 

Lady Cob. 0, my dear lord, what shall betide of us ? 
You to the Tower, and I turned out of doors ; 
Our substance seized unto his highness' use, 
Even to the garments 'longing to our backs. 

Har. Patience, good madam, things at worst will 
And if they do not, yet our lives may end. 

Bish. Urge it no more ; for if an angel spake, 
I swear by sweet Saint Peter's blessed keys, 
First goes he to the Tower, then to the stake ! 

Crom. But, by your leave, this warrant doth not 
To imprison her. [stretch 

Bish. No, turn her out of doors, 

Even as she is, and lead him to the Tower, 
With guard enough, for fear of rescuing. 

Lady Cob. God requite thee, thou blood-thirsty 
man ! 

Cob. May it not be, my lord of Rochester ? — 
Wherein have I incurred your hate so far 
That my appeal unto the king's denied ? 

Bish. No hate of mine, but power of holy church, 
Forbids all favor to false heretics. 

Cob. Your private malice, more than public power, 
Strikes most at me ; but with my life it ends. 

Har. [aside] . that I had the bishop in that fear 
That once I had his sumner — by ourselves ! 

Crom. My lord, yet grant one suit unto us all, 
That this same ancient servingman may wait 
Upon my lord, his master, in the Tower. 

Bish. This old iniquity, this heretic, 
That, in contempt of our church discipline, 
Compelled my sumner to devour his process ? 
Old ruffian past-grace, upstart schismatic. 
Had not the king prayed us to pardon you, 
You had fried for't, you grizzled heretic .' 

Har. 'Sblood ! my lord bishop, you wrong me j I 
am neither heretic nor puritan, but of the old church. 
I'll swear, drink ale, kiss a wench, go to mass, eat 
fish all Lent, and fast Fridays with cakes and wine, 
fruit and spicery; — shrive me of my old sins afore 
Easter, and begin new before Whitsuntide. 

Crom. A merry, mad, conceited knave, my lord. 

Har That knave was simply put upon the bishop. 

Bish. Well, God forgive him, and I pardon him : 
Let him attend his master in the Tower, 
For I in charity wish his soul no hurt. 

Cob. God bless my soul from such cold charity ! 

Bish. To th' Tower with him ; and when my leisure 
I will examine him of articles. [serves, 

Look, my lord warden, as you have 't in charge, 
The sheriff, perform his office. 

Lord War. Ay, my lord. 

[Exeunt Lord Warden, Cromer, and Lord Coeham. 



Enter, from Lord Cobham's House, Sumner u-ith Books. 

Bish. What bring'st thou here ? what! — books of 
heresy ? 

Sum. Yea, my lord, here's not a Latin book, 
No, not so much as Our Lady's psalter ; 
Here's the Bible, the Testament, the Psalms in metre, 
The Sick Man's Salve, the Treasury of Gladness — 
Ail English ; no, not so much but the almanac's Eng- 

Bish. Away with them ! to the fire with them, 
Now fie upon these upstart heretics ! [Clun ! 

All English ! burn them, burn them quickly, Clun ! 

Har. But do not, sumner, as you'll answer it ; for 
I have there English books, my lord, that I'll not 
part withal for your bishopric : Bevis of Hampton, 
Owlglass, the Friar and the Boy, Ellen of Rumming, 
Robin Hood, 1 and other such godly stories, which, if 
ye burn, by this flesh I'll make ye drink their ashes 
in Saint Marget's ale. [Exeunt Bishop of Rochester, 
Lady Coeham, Harpool, and Sumner. 


SCENE I. — The entrance of the Tower. 
Enter the Bishop of Rochester, attended. 

1 Serv. Is it your honor's pleasure we shall stay, 
Or come back in the afternoon to fetch you ? 

Bish. Now have ye brought me here unto the Tow- 
Tou may go back unto the porter's lodge, [er, 

Where, if I have occasion to employ you, 
I'll send some officer to call you to me. 
Into the city go not, I command you : 
Perhaps I may have present need to use you. 

2 Serv. We will attend your honor here without. 

3 Serv. Come, we may have a quart of wine at the 
Rose at Barking, and come back an hour before he'll go. 

1 Serv. We must hie us, then. 

3 Serv. Let's away. [Exeunt. 

Bish. Ho, master lieutenant ! 

Enter Lieutenant of the Tower. 

Lieut. Who calls there ? 

Bish. A friend of yours. 

Lieut. My lord of Rochester ! your honor's wel- 

Bish. Sir, here is my warrant from the council, 
For conference with Sir John Oldcastle, 
Upon some matter of great consequence. 

Lieut. Ho. Sir John ! 

Har. [within] . Who calls there ? 

Lieut. Harpool, tell Sir John, my lord of Rochester 
Comes from the council to confer with him. 
I think you may as safe without suspicion 
As any man in England, as I hear, 
For it was you most labored his commitment. 

Bish. I did, and naught repent it, I assure you. 

Enter Lord Cobham and Harpool. 

Master lieutenant, I pray you, give us leave, 
I must confer here with Sir John a little. 
Lieut. With all my heart, my lord. [Ex. Lieut. 

1 This was all the popular literature of that day. The 
eervingman of my Lord Cobham had quite a comprehensive 

Har. [aside'] . My lord, be ruled by me, take this 
While it is offered, and, upon my life [occasion, 

Your lordship will escape. 

Cob. No more, I say : 

Peace, lest he should suspect it. 

Bish. Sir John, 

I come to you from the lords o' the council 
To know if you do yet recant your errors. 

Cob. My lord of Rochester, on good advice, 
I see my error ; but yet understand me ; 
I mean not error in the faith I hold, 
But error in submitting to your pleasure. 
Therefore, your lordship, without more ado, 
Must be a means to help me to escape. 

Bish. What mean'st thou, heretic? 
Dar'st thou but lift thy hand against my calling ? 

Cob. No, not to hurt you for a thousand pound. 

Har. Nothing but to borrow your upper garment a 
little : not a wotd more ; peace, for waking the chil- 
dren. There, put them on ; despatch, my lord ; the 
window that goes out into the leads is sure enough : 
as for you, I'll bind you surely in the inner room. 

[Carries the Bishop in, and returns. 

Cob. This is well begun ; God send us happy speed, 
Hard shift you see men make in time of need. 

[Puts on the Bishop's cloak. 

Re-enter the Bishop of Rochester's Servants. 

1 Serv. I marvel that my lord should stay so long. 

2 Serv. He hath sent to seek us, I dare lay my life. 
• 3 Serv. We come in good time ; see where he is 

Har. I beseech you, good my lord of Rochester. 
Be favorable to my lord and master. 

Cob. The inner rooms be very hot and close, 
I do not like this air here in the Tower. 

Har. His case is hard, my lord. — You shall safely 2 
get out of the Tower, but I will down upon them : in 
which time get you away. Hard under Islington wait 
my coming : I will bring my lady ready with horses 
to get hence. [Aside.] 

Cob. Fellow, go back again unto thy lord, 
And counsel him. — 

Har. Nay, my good lord of Rochester, 
I'll bring you to St. Alban's, through the woods, 
I warrant you. 

Cob. Villain, away. 

Har. Nay, since I am past the Tower's liberty, 
You part not so. [He draws. 

Cob. Clubs, clubs, clubs. 

1 Serv. Murther, murther, murther. 

[They set upon Harpool. 

2 Serv. Down with him. 

Har. Out, you cowardly rogues. [Cobham escapes. 

Enter Lieutenant of the Tower, and Warder. 

Lieut. Who is so bold as dare to draw a sword 
So near unto the entrance of the Tower ? 

1 Se?-v. This ruffian, servant to Sir John Oldcastle, 
Was like to have slain my lord. 

Lieut. Lay hold on him. 

Har. Stand off, if you love your puddings. 

2 Subsequent editions read " scarcely." — Harpool is a little 
confused. It may be scarcely, or safely, but either word re- 
quires you to make allowances for the disorder of the sen- 



Bish. [within]. Help, help, help, master lieutenant ; 

help ! 
Lieut. Who's that within? some treason in the 
Upon my life ; — look in ; who's that who calls? 

[Exit one of the Warders uithiri, and re-enter 
with the Bishop of Rochester, bound. 
Lieut. Without your cloak, my lord of Rochester? 
Har. There, now I see it works ; then let me speed, 
For now's the fittest time to 'scape away. 

[Exit Harfool. 
Lieut. Why do you look so ghastly and affrighted? 
Bish. Oldcastle, that foul traitor and his man, 
When you had left me to confer with him, 
Took, bound, and stript me, as you see me now, 
And left me lying in this inner chamber ; — 
And so departed. 

1 Serv. And I 

Lieut. And you now say that the lord Cobham's 
Did here set on you, like to murder you? [man 

1 Serf. And so he did. 

Bish. It was upon his master then he did, 
That, in the brawl, the traitor might escape. 
Lieut. Where is this Harpool? 

2 Serv. Here he was, even now. 
Lieut. Fled ! — Where? can you tell? 
Bish. They are both escaped ! 

Lieut. Since it so happens that he is escaped, 
I am glad you are a witness of the same : 
It might have else been laid unto my charge, 
That I had been consenting to the fact. 

Bish. Come ! 

Search shall be made for him with expedition, 
The haven's laid that he shall not escape, 
And hue and cry continue throughout England, 
To find this damned, dangerous heretic. [Exeunt. 

SCENE II— ,4 High Road near St. Alban's. 

Enter Sir John of Wrotham, and Doll. 

Sir John. Come, Doll, come ; be merry, wench. 
Farewell, Kent ; we are not for thee. Be lusty, my 
lass. Come ! for Lancashire. We must nip the 
bung, 1 for these crowns. 

Loll. Why, is all the gold spent already, that you 
had the other day ? 

Sir John. Gone, Doll, gone ; flown, spent, vanished ; 
the devil, drink, and dice, have devoured all. 

Loll. You might have left me in Kent, till you had 
been better provided. 

Sir John. No, Doll, no ; Kent's too hot, Doll, Kent's 
too hot ; the weathercock of Wrotham will crow no 
longer ; we have plucked him ; he has lost his feath- 
ers ; — I have pruned him bare ; left him thrice ; he 
is moulted ; he is moulted, wench. 

Loll. I might have gone to service, again ; old 
Master Harpool told me he would provide me a mis- 

Sir John, Peace, Doll, peace; come, mad wench, 
I'll make thee an honest woman ; we'll into Lanca- 
shire to our friends ; the truth is, I'll marry thee ; we 
want but a little money, and money we will have, I 
warrant thee : stay, who comes here ? some Irish 
villain, methinks, that has slain a man, and now is 
rifling of him. Stand close, Doll ; we'll see the end. 

1 Bung — a pickpocket 

Enter an Irishman, with his dead Master. He lays him 
down and rifles him. 

Irish. Alas, poe master, Sir Richard Lee : be St. 
Patrick, I'se rob and cut dy trote, for dy shain, and 
dy mony, and dygold ring. Be me truly, I'se love de 
well, but now dow be kill, dow be bastely* knave. 

Sir John. Stand, sirrah, what art thou ? 

Irish.. Be St. Patrick, mester, I'se poor Irishman ; 
I'se a leufter. 3 

Sir John. Sirrah, sirrah, you're a damned rogue ; 
you have killed a man here, and rifled him of all that 
he has. 'Sblood,. you rogue, deliver, or I'll not leave 
you so much as a hair above your shoulders, you 
whorson Irish dog. [Robs him. 

Irish. We's me ! Be St. Patrick, I'se kill my mes- 
ter for his shain and his ring, and now's be rob of all. 
Me's undo. 

Sir John. Avaunt, you rascal ; go, sirrah ; be walk 
ing ! Come, Doll, the devil laughs when one thief 
robs another. Come, wench, we'll to St. Alban's, and 
revel in our bower, my brave girl. 

Loll. 0, thou art old 4 Sir John, when all's done, 
i'faith. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III.— St. Alban's. The Entrance of a Carri- 
er's Inn. 

Enter Host and Irishman. 

Irish. Be me tro', mester, I'se poor Irishman. 
I'se want ludging ; I'se have no mony ; I'se starve and 
cold ; good mester, give hur some meat ; I'se famish 
and tie. 

Host. 'Faith, fellow, I have no lodging, but what I 
keep for my guests. As for meat, thou shalt have as 
much as there is ; and if thou wilt lie in the barn, 
there's fair straw, and room enough. 

Irish. I'se tank my mester, heartily. 

Host. Ho, Robin ! 

Enter Robin. 

Robin. Who calls ? 

Host. Show this poor Irishman to the barn ; — go, 
sirrah. [Exeunt. 

Enter Carrier and Kate. 

Car. Who's within, here ? — who looks to the hor- 
ses ? Uds heart, here's fine work : the hens in the 
maunger, and the hogs in the litter. A bots 'found 
you all ! here's a house well looked to, i'faith. 

Kate. Mas gaff Club, I'se very cawd. 

Car. Get in, Kate, get in to the fire, and warm thee. 
John Ostler ! 

Enter Ostler. 

Ost. What, gaffer Club ! welcome to St. Alban's ! 
How do all our friends in Lancashire ? 

Car. Well, God-a-mercy, John ! — How does Tom ? 
Where is he ? 

Ostl. Tom's gone from hence ; he's at the Three 
Horse-loaves, at Stony-Stratford. How does old Dick 

Car. Uds heart, old Dun has bin moyr'd in a slough 
in Brick-hill lane : a plague 'found it ! yonder's such 
abomination-weather as was never seen. 

* I have substituted one epithet here, for another, in order 
to avoid a sheer brutality. 

3 What a "leufter" is, nobody can say at this day. " Leu- 
terer" was a thief, a vagabond. The Irishman is probably 
willing to confess himself both, that he may escape the more 
heinous charge of murder. * Query : bold? 



Osll. Ud's heart ! thief! 'a shall have one half peck 
of pease and oats more for that, as I am John Ostler ; 
he has been ever as good a jade as ever travelled. 

Car. 'Faith, well said, old Jack ; thou art the old 
lad still. 

Ostl. Come, gafier Club, unload, unload, and get in 
to supper. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. — The same. A Room in the Carrier's Inn. 

Enter Host, Lord Cobham, and Hakpool. 

Host. Sir, you are welcome to this house, and to 
such as is here, with all my heart : but I fear your 
lodging will be the worst. I have but two beds, and 
they are both in one chamber, and the carrier and his 
daughter lie in the one, and you and your wife must 
lie in the other. 

Cob. 'Faith, sir, for myself I do not greatly press, 1 
My wife is weary, and would be at rest, 
For we have travelled very far to-day ; 
We must be content with such as you have. 

Host. Hut I can not tell what to do with your man. 

Har. What ? hast thou never an empty room in thy 
house for me ? 

Host. Not a bed, in troth. There came a poor Irish- 
man, and I lodged him in the barn, where he has fair 
straw, although he have nothing else. 

Har. Well, mine host, I pry'thee help me to a pair 
of clean sheets, and I'll go lodge with him. 

Host. By the mass, that thou shalt ; as good a pair 
of hempen sheets were never lain in : come. [Exeunt. 

SCENE V. — The same. A Street. 

Enter Mayor, Constable, and Watch. 

Mayor. What ! have you searched the town ? 

Con. All the town, sir ; we have not left a house 
unsearched that uses to lodge. 

Mayor. My lord of Rochester was then deceived, 
Or ill-informed of Sir John Oldcastle : 
Or, if he came this way, he's past the town ; 
He could not else have 'scaped you in the search. 

Con. The privy watch hath been abroad all night, 
And not a stranger lodgeth in the town 
But he is known ; only a lusty priest 
We found in bed with a young, pretty wench, 
That says she is his wife, yonder at the Shears : 
But we have charged the host with his forthcoming 
To-morrow morning. 

Mayor. What think you best to do ? 

Con. Faith, master mayor, here's a few straggling 
houses beyond the bridge, and a little inn, where car- 
riers use to lodge, although I think surely he would 
never lodge there : but we'll go search, and the rather, 
because there came notice to the town the last night 
of an Irishman, that had done a murder, whom we 
are to make search for. 

Mayor. Come, then, I pray you, and be circum- 
spect. [Exeunt. 

SCENE VI. — The same. Before the Carrier's Inn. 

Enter Constable and Officer. 

Con. First beset the house, before you begin to 

i "Pass," in the old editions. 


Offi. Content ; every man take a several place. 

[Noise within. 
Voice [within] . Keep ; keep ; strike him down, 
there ; down with him ! 

Enter from the Inn, the Mayor and Constable, with 
the Irishman in Harpool's apparel. 

Con. Come, you villanous heretic, tell us where 
your master is. 

Irish. Vat mester ? 

Mayor. Vat mester, you counterfeit rebel ? This 
shall not serve your turn. 

Irish. Be Sent Patrick, I ha' no mester. 

Con. Where's the lord Cobham, Sir John Oldcastle, 
that lately escaped out of the Tower? 

Irish. Vat lort Cobham ? 

Mayor. You counterfeit ; this shall not serve you ; 
we'll torture you ; we'll make you confess where that 
arch heretic is. Come, bind him fast. 

Irish. Ahone, ahone, ahone, a cree ! 

Con. Ahone! you crafty rascal ? [Exeunt. 

SCENE VII.— The same. The Yard of the Inn. 
Enter Lord Cobham, in his nightgown. 

Cob. Harpool ! 
I hear a marvellous noise about the house : — 
God warrant us, I fear we are pursued ! 
What ! Harpool ! 

Har. [within] . Who calls, there ? 

Cob. >Tis I ! 

Dost thou not hear a noise about the house ? 

Har. Yes, marry do I. Zounds, I can not find my 
hose. This Irish rascal that lodged with me all 
night, hath stolen my apparel, and has left me noth- 
ing but a lousy mantle, and a pair of brogues. Get 
up, get up ! 

And if the carrier and his wench be 'sleep, 
Change you with him, as he 2 hath done with me, 
And see if we can 'scape. [Exit Lord Cobham. 

SCENE VIII. — The same. Noises at intervals, about 
the House. Then enter Harpool, in the Irishman's 
apparel, the Mayor, Constable, and Officers, meeting 

Con. Stand close ; here comes the Irishman that did 
The murder ; — by all tokens this is he ! 

Mayor. And perceiving the house beset, would get 
Stand, sirrah ! [away. 

Har. What art thou that bidd'st me stand ? 

Con. I am the officer, and am come to search for 
An Irishman ; — such a villain as thyself; — 
Thou'st murdered a man, this last night, by the high- 

Har. 'Sblood, constable, art mad? am Ian Irish- 

Mayor. Sirrah, we'll find you an Irishman, before 
We part. — Lay hold upon him. 

Con. Make him fast ! Oh ! bloody rogue ! 

[The Officers seize him. 

Enter Lord and Lady Cobham, in the habits of the Car- 
rier and his Daughter. 

Cob. What, will these ostlers sleep all day ? 

2 The Irishman. 



Good morrow, good morrow. Come, wench, come : 
Saddle, saddle ; now, afore God, two fair days, ha ? 

Con. Who goes there ? 

Mayor. O 'tis the Lancashire carrier, let them pass. 

Cob. What, will nobody open us the gates here ? 
Come, let's into stable to look to our capons. 

[Exeunt Lord and Lady Cobham. 

Car. {within]. Host! why, ostler! zooks ! here's 
such abomination company of boys : A pox of this 
pigstye at the house end ; it fills all the house full of 
fleas. Ostler, ostler ! 

Enter Ostler. 

Ostl. Who calls there ? what would you have ? 

Car. [within]. Zooks ! do you rob your guests? 
Do you lodge rogues, and slaves, and scoundrels, ha? 
They ha' stolen our clothes, here : why, ostler ? 

Ostl. A murrain choke you ! what a bawling you 

keep ! 

Enter Host. 

Host. How now ? What would the carrier have ? 
Look up, there ! 

Ostl. They say the man and the woman that lay by 
them have stolen their clothes. 

Host. What, are the strange folks up, that came in 
yesternight ? 

Con. What, mine host, up so early ? 

Host. What, master mayor, and master constable ? 

May. We are come to seek for some suspected per- 
And such as here we found have apprehended, [sons, 
Enter Carrier and Kate, in Lord and Lady Cobham's 

Con. Who comes here ? 

Car. Who comes here ? A plague 'found 'em ! 
You bawl, quoth-a? odds heart, I'll forswear your 
house : you lodged a fellow and his wife by us, that 
ha' run away with our 'parel, and left us such gew- 
gaws here ! Come, Kate ; come to me ; thou's diz- 
ard i'faith. 

Mayor. Mine host, know you this man ? 

Host. Yes, master mayor, I'll give my word for 
Why, neighbor Club, how comes this gear about ? 

Kate. Now a foul on't ! I can not make this gew- 
gaw stand on my head. 

Con. How came this man and woman thus attired? 

Host. Here came a man and woman hither this last 
Which I did take for substantial people, [night, 

And lodged all in one chamber by these folks : 
Methinks they have been so bold to change apparel, 
And gone away this morning ere these rose. 

Mayor. It was that traitor Oldcastle that thus 
Escaped us ; make hue and cry yet after him ; 
Keep fast that trait'rous rebel, his servant there : 
Farewell, mine host. 

Car. Come, Kate Owdham, thou and I'se trimly 

Kate. I'faith, neam Club, I'se wot ne'er what to do ; 
I'se be so flouted and so shouted at ; but, by the mess, 
I'se cry. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IX. — A Wood near St. Alban's. 

Enter Lord and Lady Cobham, disguised. 

Cob. Come, madam, happily escaped. Here let us 

This place is far remote from any path ; 
And here awhile our weary limbs may rest 
To take refreshing, free from the pursuit 
Of envious Rochester. 

Lady Cob. But where, my lord, 

Shall we find rest for our disquiet minds ? 
There dwell untamed thoughts that hardly stoop 
To such abasement of disdained rags : 
We were not wont to travel thus by night, 
Especially on foot. 

Cob. No matter, love ; 

Extremities admit no better choice ; 
And, were it not for thee, say fro ward time 
Imposed a greater task, I would esteem it 
As lightly as the wind that blows upon us. 
But, in thy sufferance, I am doubly tasked; — 
Thou wast not wont to have the earth thy stool, 
Nor the moist dewy grass thy pillow, nor 
Thy chamber [walls] to be the wide horizon. 

Lady Cob. How can it seem a trouble, having you, 
A partner with me, in the worst I feel? 
No, gentle lord, your presence would give ease 
To death itself, should he now seize upon me : 

[She produces some bread and 
cheese and a bottle. 
Behold what my foresight hath undertaken 
For fear we faint ; — these are but homely cates ; 
Yet, sauced with hunger, they may seem as sweet 
As greater dainties we were wont to taste. 

Cob. Praise be to Him, whose plenty sends both 
And all things else our mortal bodies need ! [this 
Nor scorn we this poor feeding, nor the state 
We now are in ; for what is it on earth, — 
Nay, under heaven, — continues at a stay ? 
Ebbs not the sea, when it hath overflown ? 
Follows not darkness, when the day is gone ? 
And see we not, sometimes, the eye of heaven 
Dimmed with o'er-flying clouds ? There's not that 
Of careful nature, or of cunning art, [work 

How strong, how beauteous, or how rich it be, 
But falls in time to ruin. Here, gentle madam, 
In this one draught, I wash my sorrow down. 


Lady Cob. And I, encouraged with your cheerful 
Will do the like. [speech, 

Cob. Pray God, poor Harpool come ! 

If he should fall into the bishop's hands, 
Or not remember where we bade him meet us, 
It were the thing of all things else, that now 
Could breed revolt in this new peace of mind. 

Lady Cob. Fear not, my lord, he's witty to devise, 
And strong to execute a present shift. 

Cob. That Power be still his guide hath guided us. 
My drowsy eyes wax heavy ; early rising, 
Together with the travel we have had, 
Makes me that I could gladly take a nap, 
Were I persuaded we might be secure. 

Lady Cob. Let that depend on me : whilst you do 
I'll watch, that no misfortune happen us. [sleep, 

Cob. I shall, dear wife, but too much trouble thee. 

Lady Cob. Urge not that ; 
My duty binds me, and your love commands. 
I would I had the skill, with tuned voice, 
To draw on sleep with some sweet melody. 
But imperfection, and unaptness 1 too, 

I The impropriety of drawing attention to their place of 



Are both repugnant : fear inserts 1 the one, 
The other nature hath denied me use. 
But what talk I of means, to purchase that 
Is freely happened ? Sleep, with gentle hand, 
Hath shut his eyelids. 0, victorious labor, 
How soon thy power can charm the body's sense ! 
And now thou likewise climb'st unto my brain, 
Making my heavy temples stoop to thee. 
Great God of heaven, from danger keep us free ! 

[Falls asleep. 

Enter Sir Richard Lee and his Servants. 

Lee. A murder cruelly 2 done, and in my ground ? 
Search carefully : if anywhere it were, 
This obscure thicket is the likeliest place. [Exit Ser- 
vant, who re-enters, bearing a dead body. 

Serv. Sir, I have found the body stiff with cold, 
And mangled cruelly with many wounds. 

Lee. Look, if thou know'st him ; turn his body up : 
Alack, it is my son ! my son and heir, 
Whom, two years since, I sent to Ireland, 
To practise there the discipline of war ; 
And coming home — for so he wrote to me — 
Some savage heart, some bloody, devilish hand, 
Either in hate, or thirsting for his coin, 
Hath here sluiced out his blood. Unhappy hour ! 
Accursed place ! but most inconstant fate, 
That had reserved him from the bullet's fire, 
And suffered him to 'scape the wood-kernes' 3 fury, 
Didst here ordain the treasure of his life, 
Even here within the arms of tender peace, 
To be consumed by treason's wasteful hand ! 
And, which is most afflicting to my soul, 
That this his death and murder should be wrought 
Without the knowledge by whose means 'twas done. 

2 Se?-y. Not so, sir ; I have found the authors of it. 
See where they sit, and in their bloody fists 
The fatal instruments of death and sin. 

Lee. Just judgment of that Power, whose gracious 
Loathing the sight of such a heinous fact, [eye, 

Dazzled their senses with benumbing sleep, 
Till their unhallowed treachery was known ! — 
Awake, ye monsters ! — murderers, awake ! 
Tremble for horror ; blush, you can not choose, 
Beholding this inhuman deed of yours. 

Cob. What mean you, sir, to trouble weary souls, 
And interrupt us of our quiet sleep ? 

Lee. 0, devilish ! Can you boast unto yourselves 
Of quiet sleep, having, within your hearts, 
The guilt of murder waking, that with cries 
Deafs the loud thunder, and solicits Heaven 
With more than mandrakes' shrieks,'' for your offence ? 

Lady Cob. What murder ? You upbraid us wrong- 

Lee. Can you deny the fact ? See you not here 
The body of my son by you misdone ? 
Look on his wounds, look on his purple hue : 
Do we not find you where the deed was done ? 
Were not your knives fast closed in your hands ? 
Is not this cloth an argument besides, 
Thus stained and spotted with his innocent blood ? 
These speaking characters, were there nothing else 
To plead against ye, would convict you both. — 

1 " Insists," perhaps. 

2 " Closely" is the word in previous copies. 

3 The kerne was the Irish lighNarmed foot-soldier. 

4 The mandrake, or mandragora, provoked many super- 
stitions. It was said to shriek when torn up. 

To Hertford with them, where the 'size is now : 
Their lives shall answer for my son's lost life. 
Cob. As we are innocent, so may we speed. 
Lee. As I am wronged, so may the law proceed. 

SCENE X.— St. Alban's. 

Enter the Bishop of Rochester, Constable of St. Al- 
ban's, with Sir John, Doll, and the Irishman in 
Hakfool's Apparel. 

Bish. What intricate confusion have we here ? 
Not two hours since, we apprehended one 
In habit Irish, but in speech not so ; 
And now you bring another, that in speech 
Is Irish, but in habit English : yea, 
And more than so — the servant of that heretic, 
Lord Cobham. 

Irish. Fait, me be no servant of de Lort Cobham ; 
me be Mackshane of Ulster. 

Bish. Otherwise called Harpool of Kent : go to. sir ; 
You can not blind us with your broken Irish. 

Sir John. Trust me, lord bishop, whether Irish or 
Harpool or not Harpool, I leave to the trial : 
But sure I am, this man by face and speech, 
Is he that murdered young Sir Richard Lee. 
I met him presently upon the fact, 
And that he slew his master for that gold, 
Those jewels, and that chain, I took from him. 

Bish. Well, our affairs do call us back to London, 
So that we can not prosecute the cause 
As we desire to do ; therefore we leave 
The charge with you, to see they be conveyed 
To Hertford 'sizes : both this counterfeit 
And you, Sir John of Wrotham, and your wench, 
For you are culpable as well as they, 
Though not for murder, yet for felony. 
But since you are the means to bring to light 
This graceless murder, you shall bear with you 
Our letters to the judges of the bench, 
To be your friends in what they lawfly may. 

Sir John. I thank your lordship. [Exeunt. 

SCENE XI. — Hertford. A Hall of Justice. 

Enter Gaoler and Servants, bringing forth Lord Cob- 
ham in irons. 

Gaol. Bring forth the prisoners ; see the court pre- 
The justices are coming to the bench : [pared ; 

So, let him stand ; away and fetch the rest. 

[Exit Servant. 

Cob. 0, give me patience to endure this scourge, 
Thou that art fountain of this virtuous stream ! 
And though contempt, false witness, and reproach, 
Hang on these iron gyves, to press my life 
As low as earth, yet strengthen me with faith, 
That I may mount in spirit above the clouds ! 

Re-enter Gaoler's Servant, bringing in Lady Coeham 

and Hakpool. 
Here comes my lady. Sorrow, 'tis for her — 
Thy wound is grievous ; else I scoff at thee. 
What ! and poor Harpool ? art thou i'th' briars too ? 

Har. I'faith, my lord, I am in, get out how I can. 

Lady Cob. Say, gentle lord — for now we are alone, 
And may confer — shall we confess in brief 
Of whence and what we are, and so prevent 
The accusation is commenced against us ? 



Cob. What will that help us ? Being known, sweet 
We shall for heresy be put to death, 
For so they term the religion we profess. 
No, if we die, let this our comfort be, 
That of the guilt imposed our souls are free. 

Har. Ay, ay, my lord ! Harpool is so resolved ; 
I reck of death the less, in that I die 
Not by the sentence of that envious priest. 

Lady Cob. Well, be it, then, according as Heaven 

Enter the Judge of Assize and Justices, Mayor of St. 
Alban's, Lord and Lady Powis, and Sir Richard 
Lee ; the Judge and Justices take their places on the 

Judge. Now, master mayor, what gentleman is that 
You bring with you before us to the bench ? 

May. ['Tis] the Lord Powis, if it like your honor, 
And this his lady, travelling toward Wales ; 
Who — for they lodged last night within my house, 
And my lord bishop did lay wait for such — 
Were very willing to come on with me, 
Lest, for their sakes, suspicion we might wrong. 

Judge. We cry your honor mercy, good my lord ; 
Will't please you take your place ? Madam, your la- 
May here, or where you will, repose yourself, 
Until this business now in hand be past. 

Lady Pow. I will withdraw into some other room, 
So that your lordship and the rest be pleased. 
Judge. With all our hearts : attend the lady there. 
Pow. [aside to his Wife]. Wife, I have eyed yon 
pris'ners all this while, 
And my conceit doth tell me 'tis our friend 
The noble Cobham and his virtuous lady. 

Lady Pow. I think no less. Are they [my lord, do 
Suspected for this murder ? [you thinkj 

Pow. What it means 

I can not tell, but we shall know anon : 
Meantime, as you pass by them, ask the question ; 
But do it secret, so you be not seen, 
And make some sign, that I may know your mind. 
Lady Pow. My Lord Cobham ? Madam ? [As she 
passes over the stage by them.'] 
Cob. No Cobham now, nor madam, as you love us, 
But John of Lancashire, and Joan his wife. 

Lady Pow. tell, what is it that our love can do 
To pleasure you, for we are bound to you ? 

Cob. Nothing but this, that you conceal our names ; 

So, gentle lady, pass ; — for, being spied 

Lady Pow. My heart I leave, to bear part of your 
grief. [Exit Lady Powis. 

Judge. Call the prisoners to the bar. Sir Richard 
What evidence can you bring against these people, 
To prove them guilty of the murder done ? 

Lee. This bloody towel, and these naked knives : 
Besides, we found them sitting by the place 
Where the dead body lay within a bush. 

Judge. What answer you why law should not pro- 
According to this evidence given in, [ceed 
To tax ye with the penalty of death ? 

Cob. That we are free from murder's very thought, 
And know not how the gentleman was slain. 

1 Just. How came this linen cloth so bloody, then ? 

Lady Cab. My husband, hot with travelling, my 
His nose gushed out a-bleeding ; that was it. [lord, 

2 Just. But how came your sharp-edged knives un- 
sheathed ? 

Lady Cob. To cut such simple victual as we had. 

Judge. Say we admit this answer to these articles, 
What made you in so private, dark a nook, 
So far remote from any common path, 
As was the thick where the dead corpse was thrown ? 

Cob. Journeying, my lord, from London, from the 
Down into Lancashire, where we do dwell — [term, 
And what with age and travel, being faint, 
We gladly sought a place where we might rest, 
Free from resort of other passengers ; — 
And so we strayed into that secret corner. 

Judge. These are but ambages 1 to drive off time, 
And linger justice from her purposed end. 

Enter Constable with, the Irishman, Sir John, and 

But who are these ? 

Const. Stay judgment, and release these innocents, 
For here is he whose hand hath done the deed 
For which they stand indicted at the bar : 
This savage villain, this rude Irish slave — 
His tongue already hath confessed the fact, 
And here is witness to confirm as much. 

Sir John. Yes, my good lord, no sooner had he 
His loving master for the wealth he had, [slain 

But I upon the instant met with him : 
And what he purchased with the loss of blood, 
With strokes I presently bereaved him of ; 
Some of the which is spent ; the rest remaining, 
I willingly surrender to the hands 
Of old Sir Richard Lee, as being his ; 
Besides, my good lord judge, I greet your honor 
With letters from my lord of Rochester. 

[Delivers a letter. 

Lee. Is this the wolf whose thirsty throat did drink 
My dear son's blood ? Art thou the cursed suake 
He cherished, yet with envious, piercing sting, 
Assailedst him mortally ? Wer't not that the law 
Stands ready to revenge thy cruelty, 
Traitor to God, thy master, and to me, 
These hands should be thy executioner ! 

Judge. Patience, Sir Richard Lee, you shall have 
The fact is odious : therefore take him hence, 
And, being hanged until the wretch be dead, 
His body after shall be hanged in chains, 
Near to the place where he did act the murder. 

Irish. Pr'ythee, lord shudge,let me have mine own 
clothes, my strouces 3 there, and let me be hanged in 
a wyth, after my country the Irish fashion. 

Judge. Go to, away with him. 

[Exit Gaoler with Irishman. 
And now, Sir John, 
Although by you this murder came to light, 
Yet upright law will not hold you excused, 
For you did rob the Irishman ; by which 
You stand attainted here of felony : 
Besides, you have been lewd, and many years 
Led a lascivious, unbeseeming life. 

Sir John. Oh, but Sir John repents, and he will 

1 " Ambages"— evasions, subterfuges, circumlocutions, and 
sometimes circumstances. 

2 Trowsers. 



Judge. In hope thereof, together with the favor 
My lord of Rochester entreats for you, 
We are contented that you shall be proved. 

Sir John. I thank your lordship. 

Judge. These other falsely here 

Accused, and brought in peril wrongfully, 
We in like sort do set at liberty. 

Lee. And for amends, 
Touching the wrong unwittingly I've done, 
I give these few crowns. 

Judge. Your kindness merits praise, Sir Richard 

So let us hence. [Lee : 

[Exeunt all but Powis and Cobham. 

Pow. But Powis still must stay. 

There yet remains a part of that true love 
He owes his noble friend, unsatisfied 
And unperformed ; which first of all doth bind me 

To gratulate your lordship's safe delivery : 

And then entreat, that since, unlooked for thus 

We here are met, your honor will vouchsafe 

To ride with me to Wales, where, through my power, 

Though not to quittance those great benefits 

I have received of you — yet both my house, 

My purse, my servants, and what else I have, 

Are all at your command. Deny me not : 

I know the bishop's hate pursues you so, 

As there's no safety in abiding here. 

Cob. 'Tis true, my lord, and God forgive him for it ! 

Pow. Then let us hence. You shall be straight 
Of lusty geldings : and once entered Wales, 
Well may the bishop hunt — but, 'spite his face, 
He never more shall have the game in chase ! 





" Abooke called the Comedie of the Puritan Wydowe" 
was entered at Stationers' hall, by G. Eld, August 6, 
1607. The first published edition was made in the 
same year, under the following title : " The Puritaine, 
or the Widdow of Watling Streete : acted by the 
children of Paules : written by W. S." It was in- 
cluded in the third edition of Shakspeare's works, 
and was ascribed to Shakspeare, by Gildon, in 1702. 
The English critics, of recent times, have uniformly 
rejected the pretension. Malone supposes this play 
to have been written by one William Smith, who is 
known as the author of three plays — the Palsgrave, 
the Hector of Germany, and the Freeman's Honor. 
Mr. Steevens remarks that, " though Shakspeare has 
ridiculed the Puritans, in his ' All's Well that Ends 
Well,' and ' Twelfth Night,' yet he seems not to have 
had the smallest share in the present comedy. The 
author of it, however, was well acquainted with his 
plays, as appears from resemblances already pointed 

out." Schlegel, with more indulgence, and perhaps 
much less discrimination, is of opinion that Shak- 
speare wrote it. To account for its manifest discrep- 
ancy with the acknowledged writings of Shakspeare, 
he most absurdly supposes that the great dramatist, 
for once in his life, conceived the idea of writing a 
play in the manner of Ben Jonson. Mr. Knight prop- 
erly remarks, that, to investigate this supposed imi- 
tation, would " bring us to the conclusion that ' The 
Puritan' is as unlike Ben Jonson as it is unlike Shak- 
speare." He adds, justly : " If it possesses little of 
the wit, the buoyancy, the genial good humor, the 
sparkling poetry, the deep philosophy, and the uni- 
versal characterization, of Shakspeare, it wants, in 
the same degree, the nice discrimination of shades 
of character, the sound judgment, the careful man- 
agement of the plot, the lofty and indignant satire, 
the firm and gorgeous rhetoric, of Jonson." But all 
this, we must repeat, relates only to the superior 



works of these two masters. I am not prepared to 
regard the " Puritan" as much, if anything, below the 
inferior writings of Ben Jonson — the "New Inn," 
for example — in all that relates to structure, inven- 
tion, and comic situation. No such comparison can 
be made with Shakspeare, who. in the very meanest 
of his acknowledged and unquestioned writings, is so 
infinitely beyond this performance, as to make any 
attempt at comparison impertinent. 

But the very maturity and continued strength, 
which everywhere exist in Shakspeare, are among 
the arguments which prompt the belief in unacknowl- 
edged works from his pen ; since, we can scarcely 
suppose him to have reached such an exquisite per- 
fection of his powers at a single bound, or to have 
retained them to the last chapter of a tolerably ad- 
vanced life, without diminution or decay. But this 
belongs to the general argument. 

The estimate of Mr. Knight, in regard to the mer- 
its of" The Puritan," may well take the place of our 
own. He says : " As a comedy of manners, ' The 
Puritan' is at once feeble and extravagant. The 
author can not paint classes, in painting individuals. 
' The Puritan' is a misnomer. We have no repre- 
sentation of the formal manners of that class. The 
family of the Widow of Watling street is meant to be 
puritanical ; but it is difficult to discover wherein they 
differ from the rest of the world, except in the coarse 
exhibition of the loose morality of one of their ser- 

vants, who professes to lie, though he swears not, 
and is willing to steal, if the crime is called by some 
gentler name. Yet the comedy is not without spirit 
and interest. The events are improbable, and some 
of the intrigues superfluous ; but the action seldom 
lingers ; and, if the characters seem unnatural, they 
are sufficiently defined to enable us to believe that 
such characters did exist, and might have been cop- 
ied from the life by the author." Referring to the 
scene in the house of the gentleman who rescues 
Pyeboard from the hands of the bailiffs, by becoming 
accessory to the stratagem of the prisoner, Mr. 
Knight remarks : " There is, no doubt, considerable 
truth in this picture ; but it is not such truth as we 
find in Shakspeare ; it belongs to the temporary and 
the personal, not to the permanent and the universal. 
Such is the characteristic merit of the whole com- 
edy, whatever merit it has." 

Of this character, Pyeboard, we are told by the 
Rev. Mr. Dyce, in his valuable edition of Peele's 
works, that George Pyeboard and George Peele have 
the same meaning — "peel signifying a board with a 
long handle, with which bakers put things in and out 
of the oven." It would seem, then, that George Peel 
sat for the portrait of the profligate scholar, to the 
unknown dramatist. Peele was a man of profligate 
habits, and has published, in one of his tracts, two 
stories of his own tricks, which remind us of a couple 
of the stratagems in " The Puritan." 





Sir Godfrey Plus, brother-in-law to the Widow Plus. 

Edmond, son to the Widow. 

Sir Oliver Muckhill, a rich city knight, and suitor 
to the Widow. 

Sir John Pennydub, a country knight, and suitor to 

Sir Andrew Tipstaff, a courtier, and suitor to Fran- 

George Pyeeoard, a scholar. 

The Sheriff of London. 

Captain Idle, a highwayman. 

Pultock, ) , .„_ 

Ravenshaw, J sher >ff' sservants - 

Dogson, a catchpole. 

Corporal Oath, a vain-glorious fellow. 

Nicholas St. Antlings, -» _ , 

Simon St. Mary-Overies, servants to Lad y Plus -- 

Frailty, J and Sir (iodf rey. 

Peter Skirmish, an old soldier. 

A Nobleman. 

A Gentleman Citizen. 

Lady Plus, a citizen's widow. 
Frances and Mary, her two daughters. 

Sheriff's Officers, Keeper of the Marshalsea Prison, 
Musicians, and Attendants. 

SCENE, — London. 


SCENE I. — A Garden behind the Widow's House. 

Enter the Widow Plus, Frances, Mary, Sir God- 
frey, and Edmond, all in mourning ; Edmond in a 
Cyprus hat. 1 The Widow wringing her hands, and 
bursting out into passion, as newly come from the 
burial of her husband. 

Wid. Oh, that ever I was born, that ever I was 
bom ! 

I In plain terms, a hat with a band of crape around it — a 
mourning hat The proper spelling should be, " cypress." 

Sir God. Nay, good sister, dear sister, sweet sis- 
ter, be of good comfort ; show yourself a woman now 
or never. 

Wid. Oh, I have lost the dearest man, I have buried 
the sweetest husband that ever lay by woman. 

Sir God. Nay, give him his due, he was indeed an 
honest, virtuous, discreet, wise man. He was my 
brother, as right as right. 

Wid. O, I shall never forget him, never forget him ; 
he was a man so well given to a woman. Oh ! 

Sir God. Nay, but kind sister, I could weep as much 
as any woman ; but, alas, our tears can not call him 
again : methinks you are well read, sister, and know 
that death is as common as Homo, a common name 

to all men. A man shall be taken when he's 

making water. Nay, did not the learned parson, 

Master Pigman, tell us, e'en now, that all flesh is 
frail. — We are born to die. — Man has but a time: 
with such like deep and profound persuasions ? as he 
is a rare fellow you know, and an excellent reader. 
And, for example (as there are examples abundance) 
did not Sir Humphrey Bubble die t'other day? 
There's a lusty widow ! Why, she cried not above 
half an hour. For shame ! for shame ! Then fol- 
lowed him old Master Fulsome, the usurer : there's a 
wise widow ; why she cried ne'er a whit at all. 

Wid. rank not me with those wicked women ; I 
had a husband outshined 'em all. 

Sir God. Ay, that he did, i'faith ; he outshined 'em 

Wid. Dost thou stand there and see us all weep, 
and not once shed a tear for thy father's death ? oh, 
thou ungracious son and heir thou ! 

Edm. Troth, mother, I should not weep, I'm sure ; 
I am past a child, I hope, to make all my old school- 
fellows laugh at me ; I should be mocked, so I should ; 
pra) r , let one of my sisters weep for me, I'll laugh as 
much for her another time ? 

Wid. O thou past-grace thou ! Out of my sight, thou 
graceless imp ! thou grievest me more than the death 
of thy father. 0, thou stubborn only son ! Hadst thou 
such an honest man to thy father— that would deceive 
all the world to get riches for thee — and canst thou 
not afford a little salt water ? He that so wisely did 
quite overthrow the right heir of these lands, which 
now you respect not : up every morning betwixt four 
and five ; so duly at Westminster hall every term- 


time, with all his cards and writings, for thee, thou 
wicked Absalom. — 0, dear husband ! 

Edm. Weep, quotha? I protest I am glad he's 
churched ; — for now he's gone, I shall spend in 

Frances. Dear mother, pray cease ; half your tears 
suffice ,• — 
'Tis time for you to take truce with your eyes : — 
Let me weep now. 

Wid. 0, such a dear knight, such a sweet husband 
have I lost, have I lost. — If blessed be the corse the 
rain rains upon, 1 he had it pouring down. 

Sir God. Sister, be of good cheer. We are all mor- 
tal ourselves ; 1 come upon you freshly ; I ne'er speak 
without comfort. Hear me, what I shall say: — my 
brother has left you wealthy ; you're rich. 

Wid. Oh! 

Sir God. I say, you're rich : you are also fair. 

Wid. Oh ! 

Sir God. Go to, you are fair ; you can not smother 
it ; beauty will come to light. Nor are your years so 
far entered with you, but that you will be sought alter, 
and may very well answer another husband. The 
world is full of fine gallants ; choice enow, sister ; 
for what should we do with all our knights, I pray? 2 
but to marry rich widows, wealthy citizens' widows ; 
lusty, fair-browed ladies? Go to, be of good com- 
fort, I say; leave sobbing and weeping. — Yet my 
brother was a kind-hearted man. — I would not have 
the elf see me now [aside]. — Come, pluck up a wo- 
man's heart ! Here stand your daughters, who be 
well estated, and at maturity will also be inquired 
after with good husbands : so all these tears shall be 
soon dried up, and a better world than ever. — What, 
woman? you must not weep still! he's dead, he's 
buried — yet I can not choose but weep for him. 3 

Wid. Marry again ! — Let me be buried quick, 
then ! 
And that same part o' the choir whereon I tread, 
To such intent, may it be my grave ! 
And that the priest may turn his wedding-prayers, 
Even with a breath, to funeral dust and ashes j 
O, out of a million of millions, I should ne'er find 
such a husband ; he was unmatchable — unmatchable : 
nothing was too hot, nor too dear for me. 4 I could 
not speak of that one thing that I had not. Besides, 
I had keys of all, kept all, received all, had money 
in my purse, spent what I would, went abroad when 
I would, came home when I would, and did all what 
I would. O, my sweet husband ! I shall never have 
the like. 

Sir God. Sister, never say so. He was an honest 
brother of mine ; and so : and you may light upon one 
as honest again, or one as honest again may light 
upon you ; — that's the properer phrase, indeed. 

Wid. Never ! — O, if you love me, urge it not : 
O, may I be the by-word of the world, [kneels. 

The common talk at table in the mouth 

1 The old proverb ha9 it, "Happy the bride that the sun 
shines on ; blessed the corse the clouds rain on." 

2 Malone suggests that this may hare been meant as a sneer 
at the multitude of knights made by King James soon after 
his succession. 

3 The same expression occurs in Hamlet, spoken by 

4 This is unsatisfactorily explained by some of the com- 
mentators to be a proverbial phrase. I should prefer to 
suppose it an error of the press. It may properly read, " too 
good, nor too dear." 

Of every groom and waiter, if ever more 
I entertain the carnal suit of man. 

Mary. I must kneel down, for fashion, too. 

Frances. And I, whom never man as yet hath 
Even in this depth of general sorrow, vow 
Never to marry, to sustain such loss, 
As a dear husband seems to be, once dead. 

Mary. I loved my father well, too ; but to say, 
Nay vow, I would not marry for his death, 
Sure I should speak false latin, should I not? 
I'd as soon vow.never to come in bed : 
Tut ! women must live by the quick, and not by the 

Wid. Dear copy of my husband, let me kiss thee : 
[Ames her Husband's picture. 
How like him is this model ! this brief picture 
Quickens my tears : my sorrows are renewed 
At this fresh sight. 

Sir God. Sister 

Wid. Away ! 

All honesty with him is turned to clay ! 

my sweet husband ! 

Frances. My dear father ! 

[Exeunt Widow and Frances. 

Mary. Here's a puling, indeed ! I think my mother 
weeps for all the women that ever buried husbands : 
for if from time to time allthe widowers' tears in 
England had been bottled up, I do not think all would 
have filled a three-halfpenny bottle. Alas ! a small 
matter bucks a handkerchief; 5 and sometimes the 
spittle stands too nigh Saint Thomas-a-Waterings. 6 
Well, I can mourn in good sober sort as well as an- 
other ; but where I spend one tear for a dead father, 

1 could give twenty kisses for a quick husband. 

[Exit Mary. 

Sir God. Well, go thy ways, old Sir Godfrey, and 
thou may'st be proud on't, thou hast a kind, loving 
sister-in-law. How constant, how passionate, how 
full of April the poor soul's eyes are ! Well, I would 
my brother knew on't : he should then know what a 
kind wife he hath left behind him. Truth, an 'twere 
not for shame that the neighbors at the next garden 
should hear me betwixt joy and grief, I should even 
cry outright. [Exit Sir Godfrey. 

Edm. So ; a fair riddance ! My father's laid in 
dust ; his coffin and he is like a whole meat-pie, and 
the worms will cut him up shortly. Farewell, old 
dad, farewell ! I'll be curbed in no more. I perceive 
a son and heir may quickly be made a fool, an he will 
be one ; but I'll take another order. — Now, she would 
have me weep for him, forsooth ; and why? Because 
he cozened the right heir, he being a fool, and be- 
stowed those lands on me his eldest son ; and there- 
fore I must weep for him : ha ! ha ! Why, all the 
world knows, as long as 'twas his pleasure to get me, 
'twas his duty to get for me. I know the law on that 
point : no attorney can gull me. Well, my uncle is an 
old ass, and an admirable coxcomb. I'll rule the 
roast myself; I'll be kept under no more ; I know 
what I may do well enough, by my father's copy ; 
the law's in mine own hands now. Nay, now I know 
my strength, I'll be strong enough for my mother, I 
warrant you. [Exit. 

5 That is, wets. Washings were called " buckings." 

6 A pun upon the word hospital, of which 'spital is a con- 



SCENE II. — A Street. 
Enter Pyeboard and Skirmish. 

Pye. What's to be done now, old lad of war ? Thou 
that wert wont to be as hot as a turnspit, as nimble 
as a fencer, and as lousy as a schoolmaster — now 
thou art put to silence like a sectary. — War sits now 
like a justice of peace, and does nothing. Where be 
your muskets, calivers, and hot-shots ? In Long-lane, 
at pawn, at pawn? Now keys are your only guns : key- 
guns, key-guns, and bawds the gunners — who are 
your sentinels in peace, and stand ready charged to 
give warning with hems, hums, and pocky coughs. 
Only your chambers are licensed to play upon you, 
and drabs enow to give fire to 'em. 

Skir. Well, I can not tell, but I am sure it goes 
wrong with me ; for since the ceasure of the wars, I 
have spent above a hundred crowns out of purse. I 
have been a soldier any time this forty years ; and 
now I perceive an old soldier and an old courtier 
have both one destiny, and in the end turn both into 

Pye. Pretty mystery for a beggar, for indeed a hob- 
nail is the true emblem of a beggar's shoe-sole. 

Skir. I will not say but that war is a bloodsucker, 
and so ; but in my conscience — as there is no soldier 
but has a piece of one, though it be full of holes like 
a shot ancient 1 — no matter, 'twill serve to swear by 
— in my conscience, I think some kind of peace has 
more hidden oppressions, and violent, heady sins, 
though looking of a gentle nature, than a professed 

Pye. Troth, and for mine own part, I am a poor 
gentleman and a scholar : 1 have been matriculated 
in the university ; wore out six gowns there ; seen 
some fools, and some scholars ; some of the city, and 
some of the country ; kept order ; went bareheaded 
over the quadrangle ; eat my commons with a good 
stomach, and battled with discretion ; — at last, hav- 
ing done many sleights and tricks to maintain my wit 
in use — as my brain would never endure me to be 
idle — I was expelled the university, only for stealing 
a cheese out of Jesus college. 2 

Skir. Is't possible ? 

Pye. 0, there was one Welshman — God forgive 
him ! — pursued it hard, and never left, till I turned 
my staff toward London ; where, when I came, all my 
friends were pit-holed, gone to graves, as, indeed, 
there was but a few left before. Then was I turned 
to my wits ; to shift in the world ; to tower among 
sons and heirs, and fools, and gulls, and ladies' eldest 
sons ; to work upon nothing ; to feed out of flint ; and 
ever since has my belly been much beholden to my 
brain.3 B u t now to return to you, old Skirmish : I say 
as you say ; and, for my part, wish a turbulency in 
the world ; for I have nothing in the world but my 
wits, and I think they are as mad as they will be : 

1 Shot in the sense of cannon. In Henry IV., we have 
" an old-faced ancient." 

s The commentators assume, from the accumulation of 
college phrases, that the author must have been an aca- 
demic. I need not remark that phrases in French and 
Latin are to be picked up just as easily by those who have 
studied neither language. 

3 An ingenious commentator, determined on proving this 
play to have been written by Shakspeare. might adduce 
these passages to show his history. " Pit-holed" might be a 
quibble upon a favorite part of the theatre as well as a buri- 

and to strengthen your argument the more, I say that 
an honest war is better than a bawdy peace. As 
touching my profession : the multiplicity of scholars, 
hatched and nourished in the idle calms of peace, 
makes 'em like fishes, one devour another ; and the 
community of learning has so played upon affections, 
that thereby almost religion is come about to phan- 
tasy, and discredited by being too much spoken of in 
so many and mean mouths. I myself, being a schol- 
ar and a graduate, have no other comfort by my learn- 
ing but the affection of my words ; to know how, 
scholar-like, to name what I want, and can call my- 
self a beggar both in Greek and Latin. And, there- 
fore, not to cog with peace, I'll not be afraid to say, 
'tis a great breeder, but a bad nourisher ; a great get- 
ter of children, which must either be thieves or rich 
men, knaves or beggars. 

Skir. Well, would I had been born a knave, then, 
when I was bom a beggar ! for, if the truth was 
known, I think I was begot when my father had never 
a penny in his purse. 

Pye. Puh ! faint not, old Skirmish ; let this warrant 
thee : facilis descensus Averni — 'tis an easy journey to 
a knave ; thou may'st be a knave when thou wilt ; 
and peace is a good madam to all other professions, 
and an arrant drab to us. Let us handle her accord- 
ingly, and, by our wits, thrive in despite of her ; for, 
since the lawyer lives by quarrels, the courtier by 
smooth good-morrows, and every profession makes 
itself greater by imperfections : why not we, then, by 
shifts, wiles, and forgeries ? And, seeing our brains 
are the only patrimonies, let's spend with judgment ; 
not like a desperate son and heir, but like a sober and 
discreet templar — one that will never march beyond 
the bounds of his allowance. And, for our thriving 
means, thus: I myself will put on the deceit of a for- 

Skir. A fortune-teller ? Very proper. 

Pye. And you a figure-caster, or a conjurer. 

Skir. A conjurer? 

Pye. Let me alone ; I'll instruct you, and teach you 
to deceive all eyes but the devil's. 

Skir. O, ay ; for I would not deceive him, an I 
could choose, of all others. 

Pye. Pear not, I warrant you. And so, by these 
means, we shall help one another to patients : as the 
condition of the age affords creatures enow for cun- 
ning to work upon. 

Skir. wondrous ! new fools and fresh asses. 

Pye. fit, fit, excellent ! [Suddenly. 

Skir. What now, in the name of conjuring? 

Pye. My memory greets me happily with an admi- 
rable subject to graze upon. The lady-widow, who 
of late I saw weeping in her garden for the death of 
her husband : sure she's but a waterish soul, and half 
on't by this time is dropped out of her eyes. Device 
well managed may do good upon her : it stands firm ; 
my first practice shall be there. 

Skir. You have my voice, George. 

Pye. She's a gray gull to her brother, a fool to her 
only son, and an ape to her youngest daughter. I 
overheard them severally, and from their words I'll 
derive my device ; and thou, old Peter Skirmish, shalt 
be my second in all sleights. 

Skir. Ne'er doubt me, George Pyeboard; only, you 
must teach me to conjure. 

Pye. Puh ! I'll perfect thee, Peter. 


Idle, pinioned, and attended by a Guard of Sheriff's 
Officers, passes over the Stage. 

How now ? what's he ? 

Skir. George ! this sight kills me ! 'Tis my 
sworn brother, Captain Idle ! 

Pye. Captain Idle ? 

Skir. Apprehended for some felonious act or oth- 
er. He has started out ; has made a night on't ; lacked 
silver ; I can not but commend his resolution ; he 
would not pawn his buffjerkin : I would either some 
of us were employed, or might pitch our tents at usu- 
rers-' doors, to kill the slaves as they peep out at the 

Pye. Indeed, they are our ancient enemies : they 
keep our money in their hands, and make us to be 
hanged for robbing of 'em. But come, let's follow 
after to the prison, and know the nature of his of- 
fence ; and what we can stead him in, he shall be 
sure of it : and I'll uphold it still, that a charitable 
knave is better than a soothing 1 puritan. 


SCENE III.— A Street. 

Enter Nicholas St. Antlings, 2 Simon St. Mary- 
Overies, 3 and Frailty, in black , scurvy Mourning- 
Coats, and Books at their Girdles, as coming from 
Church. To them Corporal Oath. 

Nich. What, Corporal Oath ! I am sorry we have 
met with you ; next our hearts, you are the man that 
we are forbidden to keep company withal. We must 
not swear, I can tell you, and you have the name for 

Sim. Ay, Corporal Oath, I would you would do so 
much as forsake us ; we can not abide you ; we must 
not be seen in your company. 

Frail. There is none of us, I can tell you, but shall 
be soundly whipped for swearing. 

Corp. Why, how now? we three 4 puritanical scrape- 
shoes — flesh o' Good Fridays ! a hand. 

All. Oh ! [Shakes them by the hand. 

Corp. Why, Nicholas Saint Antlings, Simon Saint 
Mary-Overies, has the de'il possessed you, that you 
swear no better ? You half-christened catomites, you 
ungodmothered varlets ! 5 does the first lesson teach you 
to be proud, and the second to be coxcombs — proud 
coxcombs — not once to do duty to a man of mark ? 

Frail. A man of mark, quoth'a ? I do not think 
he can show a beggar's noble. 6 

Corp. A corporal, a commander, one of spirit, that 
is able to blow you up all dry with your books at 
your girdles. 

Nich. We are not taught to believe that, sir, for we 
know the breath of man is weak. 

[Oath breathes on Frailty. 

Frail. Foh ! you lie, Nicholas ! for here's one strong 
enough. Blow us up, quoth'a ! he may well blow me 

1 Quere: sobbing? 

2, 3 The names of well-known churches. 

4 So in Tweifth Night : " Did you ever see the picture of 
We three!" A common sign in the time of Shakspeare, &c, 
consisting of two men in fools' coats. The spectator, or in- 
quirer concerning its meaning, was supposed to make the 
third. — Steevens. 

5 The puritans objected to the practice of having god- 
fathers and godmothers in baptism. — Percy. 

6 A quibble between mark, an ancient coin, and mark, a 
sign of distinction ; and between noble, a coin, and noble, 
the opposite of beggar. 

above twelvescore off on him : I warrant, if the wind 
stood right, a man might smell him from the top of 
Newgate to the leads of Ludgate. 

Corp. Sirrah, thou hollow book of wax-candle'' 

Nich. Ay, you may say what you will, so you swear 

Corp. I swear by the 

Nich. Hold, hold, good Corporal Oath ; for if you 
swear once, we shall fall down in a swoon presently. 

Corp. I must and will swear, you quivering cox- 
combs ! My captain is imprisoned, and by Vulcan's 
leather cod-piece point 

Nich. 0. Simon, what an oath was there ! 

Frail. If he should chance to break it, the poor 
man's breeches would fall down about his heels ; for 
Venus allows but one point to his hose. 8 

Corp. With these, my bully-feet, I will thump ope 
the prison-doors, and brain the keeper with the beg- 
ging-box, but I'll set my honest, sweet Captain Idle 
at liberty. 

Nich. How, Captain Idle ? my old aunt's son, my 
dear kinsman, in Cappadochio ? 

Corp. Ay, thou church-peeling, thou holy-paring, 
religious-outside, thou ! If thou hadst any grace in 
thee, thou wouldst visit him, relieve him, swear to 
get him out. 

Nich. Assure you, corporal, indeed, la ! 'tis the 
first time I heard on't. 

Corp. Why, do't now, then, marmozet. Bring 
forth thy yearly wages : let not a commander perish. 

Sim. But if he be one of the wicked, he shall per- 

Nich. Well, corporal, I'll e'en along with you, to 
visit my kinsman : if I can do him any good, I will ; 
but I have nothing for him. Simon Saint Mary-Over- 
ies and Frailty, pray make a lie for me to the knight 
my master, old Sir Godfrey. 

Corp. A lie ? may you lie, then ? 

Frail. 0, ay, we may lie, but we must not swear. 

Sim. True, we may lie with our neighbor's wife, but 
we must not swear we did so. 

Corp. O, an excellent tag of religion ! 

Nich. O, Simon, 1 have thought upon a sound ex- 
cuse ; it will go current. Say that I am gone to a 
fast. 9 

Sim. To a fast ? Very good. 

Nich. Ay, to a fast ; say, with Master Fullbelly, 
the minister. 

Sim. Master Fullbelly ? An honest man : he feeds 
the flock well, for he's an excellent feeder. 

[Exeunt Oath and Nicholas. 

Frail. 0, ay ; I have seen him eat a whole pig, and 
afterward fall to the pettitoes. 

[Exeunt Simon and Frailty. 

SCENE IV. — A Room in the Marshalsea Prison. 

Enter Idle ; to him afterward Pyeboard and Skir- 

Pye. [within] . Pray turn the key. 
Skir. [within] . Turn the key, I pray. 

7 I suppose alluding to the rolls of wax-candle coiled up 
in the form of a book. — Percy. 

8 Points were the metal hooks by which the breeches and 
waistcoat were anciently held together. A similar pleasant- 
ry occurs in Henry IV., thus : — 

"Their points being broken, 
Down fell their hose." 

9 A fast— a gaol— a lock-up-fast-enough. 



Capt. Who should these be ? I almost know their 
voices ! [Enter Pyeboard and Skirmish ] O, my 
friends ! you are welcome to a smelling-room here ; 
you newly took leave of the air : is it not a strange 
savor ? 

Pye. As all prisons have smells of sundry wretch- 
es, who, though departed, leave their scents behind 
'em. By gold, captain, I am sincerely sorry for thee. 

Capt. By my troth, George, I thank thee ; but, 
pish ! what must be must be. 

Skir. Captain, what do you lie in for ? is't great ? 
What's your offence ? 

Capt. Faith, my offence is ordinary — common — a 
highway : and I fear me my penalty will be ordinary 
and common too, a halter. 

Pye. Nay, prophesy not so ill ; it shall go hard, but 
I'll shift for thy life. 

Capt. Whether I live or die, thou'rt an honest 
George. I'll tell you: silver flowed not with me, as 
it had done. For now the tide runs to bawds and flat- 
terers. I had a start out, and by chance set upon a 
fat steward, thinking his purse had been as pursy as 
his body ; and the slave had about him but the poor 
purchase of ten groats. Notwithstanding, being de- 
scried, pursued, and taken. I know the law is so grim 
in respect of many desperate, unsettled soldiers, that 
I fear me I shall dance after their pipe for't. 

Skir. I am twice sorry for you, captain : first, that 
your purchase was so small, and now that your dan- 
ger is so great. 

Capt. Pish ! the worst is but death. Have you a 
pipe of tobacco about you ? 

Skir. I think I have hereabouts. 

[Gives tobacco ; Captain blows a pipe. 

Capt. Here's a clean gentleman, too, to receive. 1 

Pye. Well, I must cast about some happy sleight : 
Work, brain, that ever didst thy master right. 

Corp. [within]. Keeper, let the key be turned. 

[Oath and Nicholas knock within. 

Nich. [within]. Ay, I pray, master keeper, give's a 
cast of your office. [Enter Oath and Nicholas. 

Capt. How now ? more visitants ? What ! Corpo- 
ral Oath ? 

Pye. and Skir. Corporal ! 

Corp. In prison, honest captain ? This must not be. 

Nich. How do you, captain kinsman ? 

Capt. Good coxcomb ! What makes that pure, 
starched fool here ? 

Nich. You see, kinsman, I am somewhat bold to 
call in, and see how you do. I heard you were safe 
enough ; and I was very glad on't, that it was no 

Capt. This is a double torture, now. This fool, by 
the book, 
Doth vex me more than my imprisonment. 
What meant you, corporal, to hook him hither? 

Corp. Who, he? he shall relieve thee, and supply 
thee : I'll make him do't. 

Capt. Fie ! what vain breath you spend ! He sup- 
ply? I'll sooner expect mercy from a usurer when 
my bond's forfeited ; sooner kindness from a lawyer 
when my money's spent ; nay, sooner charity from 
the devil, than good from a puritan. I'll look for re- 
lief from him when Lucifer is restored to his blood, 2 
and in heaven again. 

1 A clear pipe to receive it in. 

2 That is, to his rank — to his family honors. 

Nich. I warrant my kinsman's talking of me, for 
my left ear burns most tyrannically. 3 

Pye. Captain Idle ! what's he there ? He looks 
like a monkey upward, and a crane downward. 

Capt. Pshaw ! a foolish cousin of mine. I must 
thank God for him. 

Pye. Why, the better subject to work a 'scape up- 
on. Thou shalt e'en change clothes with him, and 
leave him here, and so 

Capt. Pish ! I published him e'en now to my cor- 
poral ; he will be damned ere he do me so much 
good. Why, I know a more proper, a more hand- 
some device than that, if the slave would be sociable. 
Now, goodman Fleerface ! 

Nich. 0, my cousin begins to speak to me now ; I 
shall be acquainted with him again, I hope. 

Skir. Look ! what ridiculous raptures take hold of 
his wrinkles ! 

Pye. Then what say you to this device — a happy 
one, captain? 

Capt. Speak low, George. Prison-rats have wider 
ears than those in malt-lofts. 

Nich. Cousin, if it lay in my power, as they say, 
to do 

Capt. 'Twould do me an exceeding pleasure indeed, 
that ; but ne'er talk further on't ; the fool will be 
hanged ere he do't. [To the Corporal. 

Corp. Pox ! I'll thump him to't. 

Pye. Why, do but try the fopster, and break it to 
him bluntly. 

Capt. And so my disgrace will dwell in his jaws, 
and the slave slaver out our purpose to his master ; 
for would I were but as sure on't as I am sure he wiD 
deny to do't. 

Nich. I would be heartily glad, cousin, if any of 
my friendships, as they say, might — stand, ha — 

Pye. Why, you see he offers his friendship foolish- 
ly to you already. 

Capt. Ay, that's the hell on't ; I would he would 
offer it wisely. 

Nich. Verily and indeed, la ! cousin 

Capt. I have took note of thy fleers a good while. 
If thou art minded to do me good — as thou gap'st 
upon me comfortably, and giv'st me charitable faces 
— which, indeed, is but a fashion in you all that are 
puritans — wilt soon as 4 night steal me thy master's 
chain ? 

Nich. Oh, I shall swoon ! 

Pye. Corporal, he starts already. 

Capt. I know it to be worth three hundred crowns ; 
and, with the half of that, I can buy my life at a bro- 
ker's, at second hand, which now lies in pawn to the 
law. If this thou refuse to do, being easy and noth- 
ing dangerous, in that thou art held in good opinion 
of thy master, why, 'tis a palpable argument thou 
hold'st my life at no price, and these thy broken and 
unjointed offers are but only created in thy lip : now 
born, and now buried ; foolish breath only ! What, 
wilt do't ? Shall I look for happiness in thy answer ? 

Nich. Steal my master's chain, quoth'a ? No, it 
shall ne'er be said that Nicholas Saint Antlings com- 
mitted bird-lime ! 

Capt. Nay, I told you as much, did I not ? Though 
he be a puritan, yet he will be a true man. 

Nich. Why, cousin, you know 'tis written, Thou 
shalt not steal. 

3 So in Hamlet, " most tyrannically.'" 

4 "At" in former editions. 


Capt. Why, and fool, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, 
and help him in extremities. 

Nich. Mass, I think it be, indeed ; in what chap- 
ter's that, cousin ? 

Capt. Why, in the first of charity, the second 

Nich. The first of charity, quoth'a ? That's a good 
jest ; there's no such chapter in my book ! 

Capt. No, I knew 'twas torn out of thy book, and 
that makes so little in thy heart. 

Pye. [Takes Nicholas aside]. Come, let me tell 
you, you are too unkind a kinsman, i'faith ; the cap- 
tain loving you so dearly — ay, like the pome water 
of his eye 1 — and you to be so unconformable. 2 Fie, 

Nich. Pray, do not wish me to be hanged. Any- 
thing else that I can do : had it been to rob, I would 
ha' don't ; but I must not steal. That's the word, the 
literal, Thou shalt not steal ; and would you wish me 
to steal, then ? 

Pye. No, i'faith, that were too much, to speak 
truth. Why, wilt thou nym it from him ? 

Nich. That I will. 

Pye. Why, enough, bully. He will be content with 
that, or he shall have none. Let me alone with him 
now. Captain, I have dealt with your kinsman in a 
corner ; a good, kind-natured fellow, methinks : go 
to, you shall not have all your own asking ; you shall 
'bate somewhat on't ; he is not contented absolutely, 
as you would say. to steal the chain from him ; but, 
to do you a pleasure, he will nym it from him. 

Nich. Ay, that I will, cousin. 

Capt. Well, seeing he will do no more, as far as I 
see, I must be contented with that. 

Corp. Here's no notable gullery ! 

Pye. Nay, I'll come nearer to you, gentlemen. Be- 
cause we'll have only but a help and a mirth on't, the 
knight shall not lose his chain neither, but be only 
laid out of the way some one or two days. 

Nich. Ay, that would be good, indeed, kinsman. 

Pye. For I have a further reach, to profit us better, 
by the missing oft only, than if we had it outright, as 
my discourse shall make it known to you. When 
thou hast the chain, do but convey it out at a back 
door into the garden, and there hang it close in the 
rosemary hank, but for a small season ; and, by that 
harmless device, I know how to wind Captain Idle 
out of prison : the knight thy master shall get his par- 
don and release him, and he satisfy thy master with 
his own chain, and wondrous thanks on both hands. 

Nich. That were rare indeed, la ! Pray, let me 
know how. 

Pye. Nay, 'tis very necessary thou shouldst know, 
because thou must be employed as an actor. 

Nich. An actor ? Oh no, that's a player, and our 
parson rails against players mightily, I can tell you, 
because they brought him drunk upon the stage once 
— as he will be horribly drunk. 

Corp. Mass ! I can not blame him, then ; poor 
church-spout ! 

Pye. Why, as an intermeddler, then? 

Nich. Ay — that, that. 

Pye. Give me audience, then. When the old knight 
thy master has raged his fill for the loss of the chain, 

l The apple of his eye. Pomewater is a kind of apple. 
But it must not be forgotten that Pyeboard is a scholar, 
s Written " uncomfortable" in previous editions. 

tell him thou hast a kinsman in prison of such exquis- 
ite art, that the devil himself is French lackey to him, 
and runs bareheaded by his horse's belly, when he 
has one — whom he will cause, with most Irish dex- 
terity, 3 to fetch his chain, though 'twere hid under a 
mine of sea-coal, and ne'er make spade or pickaxe 
his instruments. Tell him but this, with further in- 
structions thou shalt receive from me, and thou show- 
est thyself a kinsman, indeed. 

Corp. A dainty bully. 

Skir. An honest book-keeper. 

Corp. And my three-times-thrice-honey-cousin. 

Nich. Nay, grace of God, I'll rob him on't sudden- 
ly, and hang it in the rosemary bank ; but I bear that 
mind, cousin, I would not steal anything, methinks, 
for mine own father. 

Skir. He bears a good mind in that, captain. 

Pye. Why, well said. He begins to be an honest 
fellow, i'faith. 

Corp. In truth he does. 

Nich. You see, cousin, 1 am willing to do you any 
kindness, always saving myself harmless. 

Capt. Why, I thank thee ; fare thee well ; I shall 
requite it. [Exit Nicholas. 

Corp. 'Twill be good for thee, captain, that thou 
hast such an egregious ass to thy cousin. 

Capt. Ay, is not that a fine fool, corporal ? 
But, George, thou talk'st of art and conjuring : 
How shall that be ? 

Pye. Puh ! be't not your care : 

Leave that to me and my directions. 
Well, captain, doubt not thy delivery now, 
Even with the 'vantage, man, to gain by prison, 
As my thoughts prompt me. Hold on, brain, and 
I aim at many cunning, far events, [plot .' 

All which I doubt not but to hit at length. 
I'll to the widow with a quaint assault : — 
Captain, be merry. 

Capt. Who, I ? Kerry merry buff jerkin. 

Pye. Oh, I am happy in more sleights, and one 
Will knit strong in another. — Corporal Oath — 

Corp. Ho ! bully. 

Pye. And thou, old Peter Skirmish; I have a neces- 
sary task for you both. 

Skir. Lay't upon us, George Pyeboard. 

Corp. Whate'er it be, we'll manage it. 

Pye. I would have you two maintain a quarrel 
before the lady-widow's door, and draw your swords 
i'th' edge of the evening. — Clash a little — clash, 

Corp. Fuh ! 

Let us alone to make our blades ring noon, 
Though it be after supper. 

Pye. - I know you can ; 

And out of that false fire, I doubt not but to raise 
strange belief. — And, captain, to countenance my de- 
vice the better, and grace my words to the widow, I 
have a good plain satin suit, that I had of a young 
reveller t'other night ; for words pass not regarded 
now a-days, unless they come from a good suit of 
clothes ; which the fates and my wits have bestowed 
upon me. Well, Captain Idle, if I did not highly love 
thee, I would ne'er be seen within twelve score of 4 a 

3 With the agility of a running footman. In the time of 
Queen Elizabeth and King James I., many noblemen had 
Irish running footmen in their service. — Malone. 

4 Yards, understood. 



prison ; for I protest, at this instant, I walk in great 
danger of small debts. I owe money to several host- 
esses, and you know such gills will quickly be upon 
a man's jack. 

Capt. True, George. 

Pye. Fare thee well, captain. Come, corporal and 
ancient. Thou shalt hear more news next time we 
greet thee. 

Corp. More news ? Ay, by yon Bear at Bridge-foot, 
in the evening 1 shalt thou. 

[Exeunt Pyeboard, Skirmish, and Oath. 

Capt. Enough ; my friends, farewell ! 
This prison shows as ghosts did part in hell. 2 



SCENE I. — A Room in the Widow's House. 

Enter Mary. 

Mary. Not marry ! forswear marriage ! Why, all 
women know 'tis as honorable a thing as to lie with 
a man ; and I, to spite my sister's vow the more, 
have entertained a suitor already, a fine gallant 
knight of the last feather. 3 He says he will coach 
me too ; and well appoint me ; allow me money to 
dice withal ; and many such pleasing protestations he 
sticks upon my lips. — Indeed, his short-winded father 
i'the country is wondrous wealthy ; a most abomina- 
ble farmer ; and therefore he may dote in time. 4 
Troth, I'll venture upon him. Women are not with- 
out ways enough to help themselves : if he prove 
wise and good as his word, why I shall love him, and 
use him kindly ; and if he prove an ass, why, in a 
quarter of an hour's warning I can transform him into 
an ox ; — there comes in my relief again. 

Enter Frailty. 

Frail. 0, Mistress Mary, Mistress Mary. 

Mary. How now ? what's the news ? 

Frail. The knight, your suitor, Sir John Pennydub. 

Mary. Sir John Pennydub ? where ? where ? 

Frail. He's walking in the gallery. 

Mary. Has my mother seen him yet ? 

Frail. O no ; she's spitting in the kitchen. 5 

Mary. Direct him hither softly, my good Frailty. 
I'll meet him half way. 

Frail. That's just like running a tilt; but I hope 
he'll break nothing this time. 6 [Exit. 

Enter Sir John Pennydub. 

Mary. 'Tis happiness my mother saw him not. 
O welcome, good Sir John. 

V The old copies read, " in heaven." , 

2 Doubtless, a meaning may be conjured out of the pas- 
sage, but the idea of the author contracted to the limits of 
the line, compasses a volume of obscurity. Perhaps it might 
be something clearer to read " do part," or even " depart in 

3 Of the latest fashion. 

* I have left the reading in the old folio as it was. In other 
copies it is made to read, " do it in time,"' that is, provide me 
with what he promises. But the reference is to the old 
father, whose dotage would set the son free to do what he 

6 Superintending the spit or roasting machine. 

6 Comparison drawn from the tourney. The knights 
meeting midway in the encounter, and splintering lanceB. 

Fenny. I thank you 'faith. — 
Nay, you must stand me till I kiss you : 'tis 
The fashion everywhere i'faith, and I 
Came from the court even now. 

Mary. Nay, the fates forefend 
That I should anger the fashion ? 

Penny. Then, not forgetting the sweet of new cer- 
emonies, I first fall back ; then, recovering myself, 
make my honor to your lip thus ; and then accost it. 

[Kisses her. 

Mary. Trust me, very pretty and moving; you're 
worthy of it, sir. my mother, my mother ! now 
she is here, we'll steal into the gallery. 

[Exeunt Sir John and Mary. 

Enter Widow and Sir Godfrey. 

Sir God. Nay, sister, let reason rule you ; — do not 
play the fool ; — stand not in your own light ; you 
have wealthy offers, large tenderings ; do not with- 
stand your good fortune. Who comes a-wooing to 
you, I pray ? No small fool ; a rich knight o' the 
city, Sir Oliver Muckhill ; no small fool, I can tell 
you. And, furthermore, as I heard late by your maid- 
servants (as your maid-servants will say to me any- 
thing, I thank 'em) both your daughters are not with- 
out suitors ; ay, and worthy ones too ; one a brisk 
courtier, Sir Andrew Tipstaff, suitor afar off to your 
eldest daughter, and the third a huge wealthy farmer's 
son, a fine young country knight ; they call him Sir 
John Pennydub ; a good name, marry ; he may have 
it coined when he lacks money. What blessings are 
these, sister ? 

Wid. Tempt me not, Satan. 

Sir God. Satan ! do I look like Satan ? I hope the 
devil's not so old as I, I trow. 

Wid. You wound my senses, brother, when you 
A suitor to me. Oh, I can't abide it ; — [name 

I take in poison when I hear one named. 

Enter Simon. 

How now, Simon ? where is my son Edmond ? 

Sim. Verily, madam, he is at vain exercise ; drip- 
ping in the Tennis-court. 

Wid. At Tennis-court ? Oh, now his father's gone, 
I shall have no rule with him ; Oh wicked Edmond .' 
I might well compare this with the prophecy in the 
chronicle, though far inferior. As Harry of Mon- 
mouth won all, and Harry of Windsor lost all, so Ed- 
mond of Bristow, that was the father, got all, and 
Edmond of London, that's his son now, will spend all. 

Sir God. Peace, sister, we'll have him reformed ; 
there's hope of him yet, though it be but a little. 

Enter Frailtv. 

Frail. Forsooth, madam ; there are two or three 
archers at door would very gladly speak with your 

Wid. Archers ? 

Sir God. Your husband's fletcher, 7 I warrant. 

Wid. Oh, 
Let them come near, they bring home things of his ; 
Troth, I should ha' forgot them. How now, villain ! 
Which be those archers ? 

1 Arrow-maker — probably one who put on the feather. 


Enter Sir Andrew Tipstaff, Sir Oliver Muckhill, 
and Sir John Pennydub. 

Frail. Why, do you not see 'em before you ? Are 
not these archers? — what do you call 'em — shoot- 
ers? 1 Shooters and archers are all one, I hope. 

Wid. Out. ignorant slave. 

Sir Oliver. Nay, pray be patient, lady; — 
We come in way of honorable love. 

Sir And. ) 

Sir John. l Wed0 - 

Sir Oliver. To you. 

Sir And. ) . , , 

Sir John. \ And t0 y° ur dau S hters - 

Wid. 0, why will you offer me this, gentlemen ? 
Indeed, I will not look upon you. When the tears 
are scarce out of mine eyes, not yet washed off from 
my cheeks ; and my dear husband's body scarce so 
cold as the coffin, — what reason have you to offer it ? 
I am not like some of your widows, that will bury 
one in the evening, and be sure to have another ere 
morning. Pray away ; pray take your answers, good 
knights ; an you be sweet knights ; I have vowed 
never to marry ; — and so have my daughters, too ! 

Sir John. Ay, two of you have, but the third's a 
good wench ! 

Sir Oliver. Lady, a shrewd answer, marry. The 
best is, 'tis but the first ; and he's a blunt wooer that 
will leave for one sharp answer. 

Sir And. Where be your daughters, lady ? I hope 
they'll give us better encouragement. 

Wid. Indeed, they'll answer you so ? take it on my 
word they'll give you the very same answer verbatim, 
truly, la. 

Sir John. Mum : Mary's a good wench still ; I know 
what she'll do ? 

Sir Oliver. Well, lady, for this time we'll take our 
Hoping for better comfort. [leaves 

Wid. never, never : an I live these thousand 
years, an you be good knights, do not hope ; 'twill 

be all vain, vain. Look you, put off all your suits, 

an you come to me again. 

[Exeunt Sir John and Sir Godfrey. 

Frail. Put off all their suits, quotha? Ay, that's 
the best wooing of a widow indeed, when a man's 
nonsuited ; that is, when he's a-bed with her. 

Sir Oliver. Sir Godfrey, here's twenty angels more. 
Work hard for me ; there's life in't yet. 2 

Sir God. Fear not, Sir Oliver Muckhill ; I'll stick 
close for you : leave all with me. [Exit Sir Oliver. 

Enter Pyeboard. 

Pye. By your leave, lady widow. 

Wid. What, another suitor now ? 

Pye. A suitor ! no, I protest, lady, if you'd give me 
yourself, I'd not be troubled with you. 

Wid. Say you so, sir ? then you're the better wel- 
come, sir. 

Pye. Nay, Heaven bless me from a widow, unless I 
were sure to bury her speedily ! 

Wid. Good bluntness. Well, your business, sir? 

Pye. Very needful ; if you were in private once. 

Wid. Needful? Brother, pray leave us: and you, sir. 
[Exit Sir Godfrey. 

1 Shooters — suitors. 

2 So Lear : " Then there's life in it." — Steevens. And Sir 
Toby Belch in Twelfth Night : " There's life in it, man." 

Frail. I should laugh now, if this blunt fellow 
should put them all beside the stirrup, and vault into 
the saddle himself. I have seen as mad a trick. 

[Exit Frailty. 

Wid. Now, sir? — here's none but we. — [Enter 
Daughters.] — Daughters, forbear. 

Pye. no, 
Pray let them stay ; for what I have to speak 
lmporteth equally to them as you ? 

Wid. Then you may stay. 

Pye. I pray bestow on me a serious ear, 
For what I speak is full of weight and fear. 

Wid. Fear? 

Pye. Ay, if't pass unregarded and uneffected. 
Else, peace and joy: — I pray attention, widow. 
I have been a mere stranger for these parts that you 
live in, nor did I ever know the husband of you, and 
father of them, but I truly know, by certain spiritual 
intelligence, that he is in purgatory. 

Wid. Purgatory ! tuh ; that word deserves to be 
spit upon. I wonder that a man of sober tongue, as 
you seem to be, should have the folly to believe 
there's such a place. 

Pye. Well, lady, in cold blood I speak it ; I assure 
you that there is a purgatory, in which place I know 
your husband to reside, and wherein he is like to re- 
main, till the dissolution of the world, till the last 
general bonfire : when all the earth shall melt into 
nothing, and the seas scald their finny laborers : so 
long is his abidance, unless you alter the property of 
your purpose, together with each of your daughters 
theirs ; that is, the purpose of single life in yourself 
and your eldest daughter, and the speedy determina- 
tion of marriage in your youngest. 

Mary. How knows he that ? what, has some devil 
told him? 

Wid. Strange he should know our thoughts — Why? 
But daughter, have you purposed speedy marriage ? 

Pye. You see she tells you ay, she says nothing. 
Nay, give me credit as you please ; I am a stranger 
to you, and yet you see I know your determinations, 
which must come to me metaphysically, and by a 
supernatural intelligence. 

Wid. This puts amazement on me. 

Frances. Know our secrets ? 

Mary. I had thought to steal a marriage. Would 
his tongue 
Had dropped out when he blabbed it. 

Wid. But, sir, my husband was too honest a deal- 
ing man, to be now in any purgatories. 

Pye. do not load your conscience with untruths, 
'Tis but mere folly now to gild him o'er, 
That has past but for copper. Praises here, 
Can not unbind him there. Confess but truth ; 
I know he got his wealth with a hard gripe : 
Oh, hardly, hardly ! 

Wid. TJiis is most strange of all, how knows he 

Pye. He would eat fools and ignorant heirs clean 
And had his drink from many a poor man's brow, 
Even as their labor brewed it. He would scrape 
Riches to him most unjustly. The very dirt 
Between his nails was ill got ; — not his own ! 
Oh ! I groan to speak of it. The thought makes me 
shudder ! — shudder ! — 

Wid. It quakes me too, now I think on't. [aside. 



Sir, I ain much grieved, that you a stranger, should 
So deeply wrong my dead husband ! 

Pye. Oh? 

Wid. A man that would keep church so duly ; rise 
early before his servants, and even, for religious haste, 
go ungartered, unbuttoned, nay, sir reverence, un- 
trussed, to morning prayer? 

Pye. Oh, uff.i 

Wid. Dine quickly upon high-days, and when I 
had great guests, would even shame me, and rise 
from the table, to get a good seat at an afternoon 

Pye. There's the devil, there's the devil ! True : 
he thought it sanctity enough, if he had killed a man, 
so it had been done in a pew ; — or undone his neigh- 
bor, so it had been near enough to the preacher. 
Oh ! — a sermon's a fine short cloak of an hour long, 
and will hide the upper part of a dissembler. — 
Church ! ay, he seemed all church, and his con- 
science was as hard as the pulpit. 

Wid. I can no more endure this. 

Pye. Nor I, widow, 

Endure to flatter. 

Wid. Is this all your business with me ? 

Pye. No, lady, 'tis but the induction to't. 
You may believe my strains ; I strike all true ; — 
And if your conscience would leap up to your tongue, 
Yourself would affirm it ; and that you shall perceive 
I know of things to come, as well as I do 
Of what is present, a brother of your husband's 
Shall shortly have a loss. 

Wid. A loss ? marry Heaven forefend ! 
Sir Godfrey, my brother ! 

Pye. Nay, keep in your wonders, till I have told 
you the fortunes of you all — which are more fear- 
ful, if not happily prevented. For your part and 
for your daughters', if there be not once this day 
some blood shed before your door, whereof the hu- 
man creature dies, of you two the elder shall run 



Mary. That's not I yet. 

Pye. And with most impudent prostitution show 
Your naked bodies to the view of all beholders. 

Wid. Our naked bodies ? fie, for shame ! 

Pye. Attend me ! — and your younger daughter be 
Stricken dumb ! 

Mary. Dumb ? out, alas ! 'tis the worst pain of all 
for a woman. I'd rather be mad, or run naked, or 
anything. Dumb ! 

Pye. Give ear: ere the evening fall upon hill, bog, 
and meadow, this my speech shall have past proba- 
tion, and then shall I be believed accordingly. 

Wid. If this be true, we are all shamed, all undone. 

Mary. Dumb ! I'll speak as much as ever I can 
possibly before evening. 

Pye. But if it so come to pass (as for your fair 
sakes I wish it may) that this presage of your strange 
fortunes be prevented by that accident of death and 
bloodshedding which I before told you of, take heed, 
upon your lives, that two of you which have vowed 
never to marry, seek out husbands with all present 
speed, and you the third, that have such a desire to 

8 It might be preferable to suppose here what the printers 
call an out, and read "stuff!" as the proper epithet, of which 
"uft" seems not only the meaning but a part. 



outstrip chastity, look you meddle not with a hus- 

Mary. A double torment. 

Pye. The breach of this keeps your father in pur- 
gatory ; and the punishments that shall follow you in 
this world would with horror kill the ear should hear 
them related. 

Wid. Marry ? why, I vowed never to marry. 

Frances. And so did I. 

Mary. And I vowed never to be such an ass, but to 
marry. What a cross fortune's this ! 

Pye. Ladies, though I be a fortune-teller, I can not 
better fortunes ; you have them from me as they are 
revealed to me : I would they were to your tempers, 
and fellows with your bloods; that's all the bitterness 
I would you. 

Wid. Oh! 'tis a just vengeance for my husband's 
hard purchases. 

Pye. I wish you to bethink yourselves, and leave 

Wid. I'll to Sir Godfrey, my brother, and acquaint 
him with these fearful presages. 

Frances. For, mother, they portend losses to him. 

Wid. 0, ay ; they do, they do. 
If any happy issue crown thy words, 
I will reward thy cunning. 

[Exeunt Widow and Frances. 

Pye. 'Tis enough, lady ; I wish no higher. 

Mary. Dumb? and not marry? worse: 
Neither to speak, nor kiss, a double curse ! 

[Exit Mary. 

Pye. So, all this comes well about yet. I play the 
fortune-teller as well as if I had had a witch to my 
grannam : for, by good happiness, being in my host- 
ess's garden, which neighbors the orchard of the wid- 
ow, I laid the hole of mine ear to a hole in the wall, 
and heard 'em make these vows, and speak those 
words, upon which I wrought these advantages ; and, 
to encourage my forgery the more, I may now per- 
ceive in 'em a natural simplicity which will easily 
swallow an abuse, if any covering be over it ; and, to 
confirm my former presage to the widow, I have ad- 
vised old Peter Skirmish the soldier to hurt Corporal 
Oath upon the leg; — and, in that hurry, I'll rush 
amongst 'em — and, instead of giving the corporal 
some cordial to comfort him, I'll pour into his mouth 
a potion of a sleepy nature, and make him seem as 
dead : for the which the old soldier being apprehend- 
ed, and ready to be borne to execution, I'll step in, 
and take upon me the cure of the dead man, upon 
pain of dying the condemned's death. The corporal 
will wake at this minute, when the sleepy force hath 
wrought itself, and so shall I get myself into a most 
admired opinion, and, under the pretext of that cun- 
ning, beguile as I see occasion. And if that foolish 
Nicholas Saint Antlings keep true time with the chain, 
my plot will be sound, the captain delivered, and my 
wits applauded amongst scholars and soldiers for 
ever. [Exit. 

SCENE II.— A Garden. 

Enter Nicholas with the Chain. 

Nich. 0, I have found an excellent advantage to 
take away the chain. My master put it off e'en now, 
to 'say on a new doublet, 2 and 1 sneaked it away by 

* " 'Say on" — that is, essay to do on, or don a new doublet. 


little and little, most puritanically ! We shall have 
good sport anon, when he has missed it, about my 
cousin the conjurer. The world shall see I'm an hon- 
est man of my word : for now I'm going to hang it 
between heaven and earth amongst the rosemary- 
branches. [Exit. 


SCENE I. — The Street before the Widow's House. 
Enter Simon and Frailty. 

Frail. Sirrah, Simon Saint Mary-Overies, my mis- 
tress sends away all her suitors, and puts fleas in 
their ears. 

Sim. Frailty, she does like an honest, chaste, and 
virtuous woman ; for widows ought not to wallow in 
the puddle of iniquity. 

Frail. Yet, Simon, many widows will do't, what- 
soe'er comes on't. 

Sim. True, Frailty ; their filthy flesh desires a con- 
junction copulative. What strangers are within, 
Frailty ? 

Frail. There's none, Simon, but Master Pilfer the 
tailor ; he's above, with Sir Godfrey, 'praising 1 of a 
doublet : and I must trudge anon to fetch Master 
Suds the barber. 

Sim. Master Suds's a good man : he washes the 
sins of the beard clean. 

Enter Skirmish. 

Skir. How now, creatures? what's o'clock? 

Frail. Why. do you take us to be jacks o' the 
clock-house P 

Skir. I say again to you, what's o'clock ? 

Sim. Truly, la ! we go by the clock of our con- 
science. All worldly clocks we know go false, and 
are set by drunken sextons. 

Skir. Then what is't o'clock in your conscience ? 
Oh, I must break ofF: here comes the corporal. — 

Enter Corporal. 

Hum ! hum ! What is't o'clock ? 

Corp. O'clock ? why, past seventeen ! 

Frail. Past seventeen ? Nay, he has met with his 
match now : Corporal Oath will fit him. 

Skir. Thou dost not balk or baffle me. dost thou ? 
I am a soldier. Past seventeen ! 

Coip. Ay, thou art not angry with the figures, art 
thou ? I will prove It unto thee : twelve and one is 
thirteen, I hope ; two, fourteen ; three, fifteen ; four, 
sixteen ; and five, seventeen : then, past seventeen. 
I will take the dial's part in a just cause. 

Skir. I say 'tis but past five, then. 

Corp. I'll swear 'tis past seventeen, then. Dost 
thou not know numbers ? Canst thou not cast ? 

Skir. Cast ? Dost thou speak of my casting i'th' 
street ? 3 [They draw and fight. 

Corp. Ay, and in the market-place. 

Sim. Clubs ! clubs ! clubs ! [Simon runs away. 

l Appraising. 

s Figures formerly placed in the great clocks of churches, 
which, by mechanism, struck the hours. 

3 To " cast in the street'' was a cant phrase for vomiting. 
Hence the insult conveyed by the word casting. 

Frail. Ay, I knew, by their shuffling, clubs would 
be trump. Mass ! here's the knave, an he can do 
any good upon 'em. Clubs ! clubs ! clubs ! 

[Exit Frailty. 
Enter Pyeboard. 

Corp. 0, villain ! thou hast opened a vein in my 

Pye. How now ? For shame, for shame ! put up, 
put up. 

Corp. By yon blue welkin, 'twas out of my part, 
George, to be hurt on the leg. 

Enter Officers. 

Pye. Oh, peace, now. I have a cordial here to 
comfort thee. 

Offi. Down with 'em, down with 'em ; lay hands 
upon the villain ! 

Skir. Lay hands on me ? 

Pye. I'll not be seen among 'em now. 

[Exit Pyeboard. 

Corp. I'm hurt, and had more need to have a sur- 
Lay hands upon me, than rough officers. [geon 

Offi. Go, carry him to be dressed, then : 

[Exeunt some with Oath. 
This mutinous soldier shall along with me 
To prison. 

Skir. To prison ? where's George ? 

Offi,. Away with him ! 

[Exeunt Officers with Skirmish. 

SCENE II.— The same. 
Enter Pyeboard. 
Pye. So ! 
All lights as I would wish. The amazed widow 
Will plant me strongly now in her belief, 
And wonder at the virtue of my words : 
For the event turns those presages from them, 
Of being mad and dumb, and begets joy 
Mingled with admiration. These empty creatures, 
Soldier and corporal, were but ordained 
As instruments for me to work upon. 
Now to my patient : here's his potion. 

[Exit Pyeboard. 

SCENE III. — An Apartment in the Widow's House. 

Enter the Widow, Frances, and Mary. 

Wid. wondrous happiness, beyond our thoughts ! 
lucky, fair event ! I think our fortunes 
Were blest even in our cradles : we are 'quitted 
Of all those shameful, violent presages, 
By this rash, bleeding chance. Go, Frailty, run, and 
Whether he be yet living, or yet dead, [know 

That here before my door received his hurt. 

Frail. Madam, he was carried to the superior ; but 
if he had no money when he came there, I warrant 
he's dead by this time. [Exit Frailty. 

Frances. Sure that man is a rare fortune-teller ! — 
never looked upon our hands, nor upon any mark 
about us ; a wondrous fellow, surely. 

Mary. I am glad I have the use of my tongue yet, 
though of nothing else. I shall find the way to mar- 
ry, too, I hope, shortly. 

Wid. 0, where's my brother Sir Godfrey? I would 
he were here, that 1 might relate to him how prophet- 
ically the cunning gentleman spoke in all things. 



Enter Sir Godfrey, in a rage. 

Sir God. O, my chain, my chain ! I have lost my 
chain. Where be these villains, varlets ? 

Wid. Oh ! he has lost his chain. 

Sir God. My chain, my chain ! 

Wid. Brother, be patient ; hear me speak. You 
know I told you that a cunning-man told me that you 
should have a loss, and he has prophesied so true — 

Sir God. Out ! he's a villain to prophesy of the loss 
of my chain. 'Twas worth above three hundred 
crowns. Besides, 'twas my father's, my father's fa- 
ther's, my grandfather's huge grandfather's. 1 I had 
as lief ha' lost my neck as the chain that hung about 
it. 0, my chain, my chain ! 

Wid. Oh, brother, who can be guarded against a 
misfortune ? : Tis happy 'twas no more. 

Sir God. No more ? goodly, godly sister, would 
you had me lost more ? My best gown, too, with the 
cloth of gold lace ? my holyday gaskins, and my jer- 
kin set with pearl ? No more ! 

Wid. Oh, brother, you can read 

Sir God. But I can not read where my chain is. 
♦ What strangers have been here ? You let in stran- 
gers, thieves, and catchpoles. How comes it gone ? 
There was none above with me but my tailor, and 
my tailor will not steal, I hope. 

Mary. No, he's afraid of a chain. 

Enter Frailty. 

Wid. How now, sirrah ? the news ? 

Frail. 0, mistress, he may well be called a corpo- 
ral now, for his corpse is as dead as a cold capon's. 

Wid. More happiness. 

Sir God. Sirrah, what's this to my chain ? where's 
my chain, knave ? 

Frail. Your chain, sir? 

Sir God. My chain is lost, villain. 

Frail. I would he were hanged in chains that has 
it, then. For me, alas ! sir, I saw none of your chain 
since you were hung with it yourself. 

Sir God. Out, varlet ! — it had full three thousand 
1 have oft told it over at my prayers — [links : 

Over and over ; — full three thousand links. 

Frail. Had it so, sir? Sure it can not be lost, then. 
I'll put you in that comfort. 

Sir God. Why? why? 

Frail. Why, if your chain had so many links, it can 
not choose but come to light. 3 

Enter Nicholas. 

Sir God. Delusion ! Now, long Nicholas, where is 
my chain ? 

Mch. Why, about your neck, is't not, sir ? 

Sir God. About my neck, varlet ? my chain is lost ; 
'tis stolen away ; I'm robbed. 

Wid. Nay, brother, show yourself a man. 

Nich. If it be only lost or stole, if he would be pa- 
tient, mistress, I could bring him to a cunning Kins- 
man of mine, that would fetch it again with a sesa- 
rara. 3 

Sir God. Canst thou ? I will be patient : say, where 
dwells he ? 

i A huge grandfather is no more than a great-grandfather. 

2 A link was a torch or light. 

3 Certio: art is probably intended — " to be made more cer- 
tain"— the term and tenor of a law-writ. In our fore9t re- 
gions, the vulgar corruption makes it a " sashirary." 

Nich. Marry, he dwells now, sir, where he would 
not dwell an he could choose — in the Marshalsea, 
sir ; but he's an excellent fellow if he were out : has 
travelled all the world over, he, and been in the seven- 
and-twenty provinces. Why, he would make it be 
fetched, sir, if it were rid a thousand mile out of 

Sir God. An admirable fellow ! What lies he for ? 

Nich. Why, he did but rob a steward of ten groats 
t'other night, as any man would ha' done, and there 
he lies for't. 

Sir God. Til make his peace. A trifle ! I'll get his 
Besides a bountiful reward. I'll about it ; [pardon, 
But see the clerks ; the justice will do much : 
I will about it straight. Good sister, pardon me ; 
All will be well, I hope, and turn to good : 
The name of conjurer has laid my blood. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV.— A Street. 

Enter Puttock, Ravenshaw, and Dogson. 

Put. His hostess where he lies will trust him no long- 
er. She hath feed me to arrest him. And If you will 
accompany me — because I know not of what nature 
the scholar is, whether desperate or swift 4 — you 
shall share with me, Sergeant Ravenshaw. I have 
the good angel to arrest him. 5 

Rav. Troth, I'll take part with thee, then, ser- 
geant ; not for the sake of the money so much, as for 
the hate I bear to a scholar. Why, sergeant, 'tis 
natural in us, you know, to hate scholars — natural, 
because they will publish our imperfections, knave- 
ries, and conveyances upon scaffolds and stages. 

Put. Ay, and spitefully too. Troth, I have won- 
dered how the slaves could see into our breasts so 
much, when our doublets are buttoned with pewter. 

Rav. Ay, and so close without yielding. Oh, they're 
parlous fellows ; they will search more with their 
wits than a constable with all his officers. 

Put. Whist, whist, whist, yeoman Dogson, yeoman 

Dog. Ha ? what says sergeant ? 

Put. Is he in the 'pothecary's shop still ? 

Dog. Ay, ay ! 

Put. Have an eye, have an eye. 

Rav. The best is, sergeant, if he be a true scholar 
he wears no weapon, I think. 

Put. No, no, he wears no weapon. 

Rav. Mass, I am right glad of that : it has put me 
in better heart. Nay, if I clutch him once, let me 
alone to drag him if he be stiff-necked — I have been 
one of the six myself, that has dragged as tall men 
of their hands, when their weapons have been gone, 
as ever bastinadoed a sergeant. I have done I can 
tell you. 

Dog. Sergeant Puttock, Sergeant Puttock. 

Put. Ho ! 

Dog. He's coming out sjngle. 

Put. Peace, peace, be not too greedy ; let him play 
a little, let him play a little ; we'll jerk him up of a 
sudden. I ha' fished in my time. 

Rav. Ay, and caught many a fool, sergeant. 

Enter Pyeboard. 
Pye. I parted now from Nich'las : the chain's 
- couched, 

4 That is, whether he will stand and fight, or run. 

5 He means the coin of that name. 


And the old knight has spent his rage upon't. 
The widow holds me in great admiration 
For cunning art : 'mongst joys I'm even lost, 
For my device can no way now be crossed ; — 
And now I must to prison, to the captain, 
And there — 

Put. I arrest you, sir. 

Pye. Oh ! I spoke truer than I was aware ; 
I must to prison, indeed. 

Put. They say you're a scholar, — Nay, sir : — yeo- 
man Dogson, have care to his arms. — You'll rail 
against sergeants, and stage 'em ? You'll tickle their 
vices ? 

Pye . Nay, use me like a gentleman ; I'm little less. 

Put. You a gentleman ! that's a good jest, i'faith. 
Can a scholar be a gentleman, when a gentleman will 
not be a scholar? Look upon your wealthy citizen's 
sons, whether they be scholars or no. that are gentle- 
men by their fathers' trades. A scholar a gentleman ! 

Pye. Nay, let fortune drive all her stings into me, 
she can not hurt that in me. A gentleman is accidens 
inseparabile to my blood. 

Rav. A rablement ! nay, you shall have a bloody 
rablement upon you, I warrant you. 

Put. Go, yeoman Dogson, before, and enter the ac- 
tion i'th' counter. [Exit Dogson. 

Pye. Pray do not handle me cruelly ; I'll go 
Whither you please to have me. 

Put. Oh, he's tame ; let him loose, sergeant. 

Pye. Pray, at whose suit is this ? 

Put. Why, at your hostess's suit, where you lie ; — 
Mistress Conyburrow's, for bed and board, — the sum 
four pound, five shillings, and five pence. 

Pye. I know the sum too true, yet I presumed 
Upon a further day. Well, 'tis my stars ; 
And I must bear it now, though never harder. 
I swear now, my device is crossed indeed. 
Captain must lie by't : l this is deceit's seed. 

Put. Come, come away. 

Pye. Pray, give me so much time as to knit my 
And I'll away with you. 

Put. Well, we must be paid for this waiting upon 
you ; this is no pains to attend thus. 2 

[Pyeboard pretends to tie his garter. 

Pye. I am now wretched and miserable ; I shall 
never recover of this disease. Hot iron gnaw their 
fists ! They have struck a fever into my shoulder, 
which I shall ne'er shake out again, I fear me, till, 
with a true habeas corpus, the sexton remove me. 
Oh, if I take prison once, I shall be pressed to death 
with actions ; but not so happily as speedily ; per- 
haps I may be forty year a pressing till 1 be a thin 
old man ; that, looking through the grates, men may 
look through me. All my means confounded, what 
shall I do ? Have my wits served me so long, now to 
give me the slip, like a trained servant, when I have 
most need of 'em ? No de*vice to keep my poor car- 
cass from these puttocks ? — Yes, happiness ! have I 
a paper about me now ? 

Yes, two ; I'll try it, it may hit ; 
Extremity is touchstone unto wit. 
Ay ! Ay I [Answering Officer. 

Put. 'Sfoot, how many yards are in thy garters, 

1 Or lose by it. 

2 That is, there is neither pain nor penalty which compels 
us to this servility. 

that thou art so long a tying of them ? Come away, 

Pye. Troth, sergeant, I protest, you could never 
have took me at a worse time ; for now, at this in- 
stant, I have no lawful picture 3 about me. 

Put. 'Slid, how shall we come by our fees, then ? 

Rav. We must have fees, sirrah. 

Pye. I could have wished, i'faith, that you had took 
me half an hour hence for your own sake, for I pro- 
test if you had not crossed me, I was going in great 
joy to receive five pound of a gentleman, for the device 
of a mask here, drawn in this paper. But now, come, 
I must be contented ; 'tis but so much lost, and an- 
swerable to the rest of my fortunes T 

Put. Why, how far hence dwells that gentleman ? 

Rav. Ay, well said, sergeant ; 'tis good to cast 
about for money. 

Put. Speak, if it be not far 

Pye. We are but a little past it ; the next street be- 
hind us. 

Put. 'Slid, we have waited upon you grievously al- 
ready ; if you'll say you'll be liberal when you have 
it ; give us double fees, and spend upon us ; why, 
we'll show you that kindness, and go along with you 
tp the gentleman. 

Rav. Ay, well said still, sergeant ; urge that. 

Pye. Troth, if it will suffice, it shall all be among 
you ; for my part I'll not pocket a penny ; my hostess 
shall have her four pound, five shillings, and bate me 
the five pence, and the other fifteen shillings I'll 
spend upon you. 

Rav. Why now thou art a good scholar. 

Put. An excellent scholar, i'faith ; has proceeded 
very well o' late. Come, we'll along with you. 

[Exeunt Puttock, Ravenshaw, and Pyeboard. 
The latter knocks at the door of a Gentleman's 
house, at the inside of the stage. 

SCENE V. — A Gallery in a Gentleman's House. 

Enter a Servant. 

Serv. Who knocks ? who's at door ? We had need 
of a porter. 

Pye. [within]. A few friends here — pray is the 
gentleman your master within ? 

Serv. Yes ; is your business to him ? 

[Opens the door ; enter Pyeboard, Put- 
tock, Ravenshaw, and Dogson. 

Pye. Ay, he knows it when he sees me : 
I pray you, have you forgot me ? 

Serv. Ay, by my troth, sir ; pray, come near ; I'll 
in and tell him of you. Please you to walk here in 
the gallery till he comes. [Exit Servant. 

Pye. We will attend his worship. — Worship, I 
think ; for so much the posts at his door should sig- 
nify, 4 and the fair coming in, and the wicket ; else, I 
neither knew him nor his worship ; but 'tis happiness 
he is within doors, whatsoe'er he be. If he be not 
too much a formal citizen, he may do me good 
[aside] . Sergeant and yeoman, how do you like this 
house ? Is't not most wholesomely plotted ? 6 

Rav. Troth, prisoner, an exceeding fine house. 

Pye. Yet I wonder how he should forget me ; — for 

3 Lawful coin. The picture of his majesty. 

4 Posts at the door, in Queen Elizabeth's time, were signs 
of a justice of the peace and sheriff. 

5 Laid out— the groimA-plot, the garden. 



he ne'er know me [aside]. No matter, what is forgot 
in you will be remembered in your master. 
A pretty comfortable room this, methinks : 
You have no such rooms in prison now ? 

Put. Oh, dog-holes to't. 

Pye. Dog-holes, indeed. I can tell you, I have 
great hope to have my chamber here shortly, nay, 
and diet too ; for he's the most free-heartedst gen- 
tleman where he takes : you would little think it ? 
And what a fine gallery were here for me to walk and 
study, and make verses. 

Put. 0, it stands pleasantly for a scholar. 

Enter Gentleman. 

Pye. Look what maps, and pictures, and devices, 
and things, neatly, delicately ! Mass, here he comes ; 
he should be a gentleman ; 1 like his beard well. — All 
happiness to your worship. 

Gent. You're kindly welcome, sir. 

Put. A simple salutation. 

Rav. Mass, it seems the gentleman makes great 
account of him. 

Pye. [aloud] . I have the thing here for you, sir. 

[Takes the Gentleman aside. 
I beseech you, conceal me, sir ; I'm undone else [aside] . 
I have the mask here for you, sir [aloud] . — Look 
you, sir [aside]. I beseech your worship, first pardon 
my rudeness, for my extremes make me bolder than I 
would be. I am a poor gentleman, and a scholar, and 
am now most unfortunately fallen into the hands of 
unmerciful officers, arrested for debt, which, though 
small, I am not able to compass, by reason I am des- 
titute of lands, money, and friends ; so that if I fall 
into the hungry swallow of the prison, I am like ut- 
terly to perish, and with fees and extortions be pinch- 
ed clean to the bone. Now, if ever pity had interest 
in the blood of a gentleman, I beseech you, vouch- 
safe but to favor that means of my escape which I 
have already thought upon. 

Gent. Go forward. 

Put. I warrant he likes it rarely. 

Pye. In the plunge of my extremities, being giddy, 
and doubtful what to do, at last it was put into my 
laboring thoughts, to make a happy use of this paper ; 
and to blear their unlettered eyes, I told them there 
was a device for a mask drawn in't, and that (but for 
their interception) I was going to a gentleman to re- 
ceive my reward for't. They, greedy at this word, 
and hoping to make purchase of me, offered their 
attendance, to go along with me. My hap was to 
make bold with your door, sir, which my thoughts 
showed me the most fairest and comfortablest en- 
trance ; and I hope I have happened right upon un- 
derstanding and pity. May it please your good wor- 
ship, then, but to uphold my device, which is to let 
one of your men put me out at a back-door, and I 
shall be bound to your worship for ever. 

Gent. By my troth, an excellent device. 

Put. An excellent device, he says ; he likes it won- 

Gent. 0' my faith, I never heard a better. 

Rav. Hark, he swears he never heard a better, ser- 

Put. 0, there's no talk on't ; he's an excellent 
scholar, and especially for a mask. 

Gent. Give me your paper, your device. I was 
never better pleased in all my life : good wit, brave 

wit, finely wrought ! come in. sir, and receive your 
money, sir. [Exit within. 

Pye. I'll follow your good worship. — You heard 
how he liked it, now ? 

Put. Puh, we knew he could not choose but like it. 
Go thy ways ; thou art a fine witty fellow, i'faith ; 
thou shalt discourse it to us at the tavern, anon ; wilt 

Pye. Ay, ay, that I will. Look, sergeant, here are 
maps and pretty toys ; be doing, in the meantime ; I 
shall quickly have told out the money, you know. 

Put. Go, go, little villain ; fetch thy chink ; I be- 
gin to love thee ; — I'll be drunk to-night in thy com- 

Pye. This gentleman I may well call a part 
Of my salvation, in these earthly evils, 
For he has saved me from three hungry devils. 

[Exit Pyeboard. 

Put. Sirrah, sergeant, these maps are pretty paint- 
ed things, but I could ne'er fancy them yet j — me- 
thinks they're too busy, and full of circles and conju- 
rations ; they say all the world's in one of them, but 
I could ne'er find the counter in the poultry. 1 

Rav. I think so. How could you find it? for you 
know it stands behind these houses. 

Dog. Mass, that's true ; then we must look o' the 
backside for't : 'sfoot, here's nothing ; all's bare. 

Rav. I warrant thee that stands for the counter ; — 
for you know there's a company of bare fellows there. 

Put. 'Faith, like enough, sergeant ; I never marked 
so much before. Sirrah sergeant and yeoman, I 
should love these maps out o' cry now, if we could 
see men peep out of door in 'em. Oh, we might have 
'em in a morning to our breakfast so finely, and ne'er 
knock our heels to the ground a whole day for 'em. 

Rav. Ay, marry, sir, I'd buy one then myself. But 
this talk is by the way. Where shall's sup to-night? 
Five pound received, — let's talk of that. I have a 
trick worth all. You two shall bear him to th' tav- 
ern, whilst I go close with his hostess, and work out 
other. I know she would be glad of [halfj the sum, 
to finger [the] money ; because she knows 'tis but a 
desperate debt, and full of hazard. What will you 
say if I bring it to pass, that the hostess shall be con- 
tented with one half for all, and we to share t'other 
fifty shillings, bullies? 

Put . Why, I would call thee king of sergeants, and 
thou shouldst be chronicled in the counter-book for 

Rav. Well, put it to me ; we'll make a night on't, 

Dog. 'Sfoot, I think he receives more money, he 
stays so long. 

Put. He tarries long, indeed. May be, I can tell 
you, upon the good liking on't the gentleman may 
prove more bountiful. 

Rav. That would be rare ; we'll search him. 

Put. Nay, be sure of it ; we'll search him, and 
make him light enough. 

Enter Gentleman. 

Rav. Oh, here comes the gentleman. By your 
leave, sir. 

Gen. Give 1 you god den sirs, — Would you speak 
with me ? 

1 The prison, so called. — Malone. 2 In other copies " god." 


Put. No, not with your worship, sir ; only we are 
bold to stay for a friend of ours that went in with 
your worship. 

Gen. Who ? Not the scholar ? 

Put. Yes, e'en he, an it please your worship. 

Gen. Did he make you stay for him ! he did you 
wrong, then : why, I can assure you he's gone above 
an hour ago. 

Rav. How, sir? 

Gen. 1 paid him his money, and my man told me 
he went out at back-door. 

Put. Back-door? 

Gen. Why, what's the matter ? 

Put. He was our prisoner, sir ; we did arrest him. 

Gen. What ! he was not ? You the sheriff's offi- 
You were to blame, then ! 
Why did you not make known to me as much ? 
I could have kept him for you. I protest, 
He received all of me in Britain gold, 
Of the last coining. 

Rav. Vengeance dog him with't ! 

Put. 'Sfoot, has he gulled us so ? 

Bog. Where shall we sup now, sergeants ? 

Put. Sup, Simon, now ! eat porridge for a month. 
Well, we can not impute it to any lack of good will 
in your worship ; — you did but as another would have 
done ; 'twas our hard fortunes to miss the purchase ; 
but if ever we clutch hiin again, the counter shall 
charm him. 

Rav. The hole shall rot him. 1 

Bog. Amen. [Exeunt Sergeants. 

Gent. So : — 
Vex out your lungs without doors ; I am proud 
It was my hap to help him. It fell fit : — 
He went not empty neither for his wit. 
Alas ! poor wretch, I could not blame his brain, 
To labor his delivery, to be free 
From their unpitying fangs ; I'm glad it stood 
Within my power to do a scholar good. [Exit. 

SCENE VI. — A Room in the Marshalsea Prison. 

Enter Captain Idle ; to him Pyeboard, in disguise. 

Capt. How now? wjio'sthat? what are you? 

Pye. The same that I should be, captain. 

Capt. George Pyeboard? honest George! Why 
com'st thou in half-faced and muffled so ? 

Pye. Oh, captain, I thought we should ne'er have 
laughed again, never spent frolic hour again. 

Capt. Why ? why ? 

Pye. I, coming to prepare thee, and with news 
As happy as thy quick delivery, 
Was traced out by the scent — arrested, captain. 

Capt. Arrested, George ? 

Pye. Arrested ! guess, how many dogs do you think 
I had upon me ? 

Capt. Dogs? I say, I know not. 

Pye. Almost as many as George Stone, the bear : 2 
Three at once, three at once. 

Capt. How didst thou shake 'em off, then ? 

Pye. The time is busy, and calls upon our wits : 
Let it suffice — 
Here I stand safe, and 'scaped by miracle : 

1 One of the worst apartments in the counter-prison. 

2 A famous bear exhibited at Paris garden, and called af- 
ter his owner. 

Some other hour shall tell thee, when we'll steep 
Our eyes in laughter. Captain, my device 
Leans to thy happiness ; for, ere the day 
Be spent to th' girdle, 3 thou shalt [sure] be free. 
The corporal's in's first sleep ; the chain is missed; 
Thy kinsman has expressed thee, 4 and the old knighl 
With palsy hams 5 now labors thy release. 
What rests, is all in thee to conjure, captain. 

Capt. Conjure? 'Sfoot! George, you know the devil 
o' conjuring I can conjure. 

Pye. The devil o' conjuring ? Nay, by my say, I'd 
not have thee do so much, captain, as the devil, a- 
conjuring. Look here : I have brought thee a circle, 
ready charactered and all. 

Capt. 'Sfoot ! George, art in thy right wits ? Dost 
know what thou say'st ? Why dost talk to a captain 
of conjuring ? Didst thou ever hear of a captain con- 
jure in thy life ? Dost call't a circle ? 'Tis too wide 
a thing, methinks. Had it been a lesser circle, then 
I knew what to have done. 

Pye. Why, every fool knows that, captain. Nay, 
then I'll not cog with you, captain ; if you'll stay and 
hang, the next sessions, you may. 

Capt. No, by my faith, George. Come, come ; let's 
to conjuring. 

Pye. But if you look to be released (as my wits 
have took pain to work it. and all means wrought to 
further it), besides, to put crowns in your purse ; to 
make you a man of better hopes ; and, whereas, be- 
fore you were a captain or poor soldier, to make you 
now a commander of rich fools — which is truly the 
only best purchase peace can allow you — safer than 
highways, heath, or cony-groves, and yet a far bet- 
ter booty ; for your greatest thieves are never hanged, 
never hanged: for why? they're wise, and cheat with- 
in doors ; and we geld fools of more money in one 
night than your false-tailed gelding 6 will purchase in 
a twelve-month's running — which confirms the old 
beldam's saying : He's wisest that keeps himself warm- 
est ; that is, he that robs by a good fire. 

Capt. Well opened, i'faith, George ; thou hast pulled 
that saying out of the husk. 

Pye. Captain Idle, 'tis no time now to delude or de- 
lay. The old knight will be here suddenly. I'll per- 
fect you, direct you, tell you the trick on't : 'tis noth- 

Capt. 'Sfoot ! George, I know not what to say to't. 
Conjure? I shall be hanged ere I conjure. 

Pye. Nay, tell not me of that, captain ; you'll ne'er 
conjure after you're hanged, I warrant you. Look 
you, sir : a parlous matter, sure ! first, to spread your 
circle upon the ground; then, with a little conjuring 
ceremony (as I'll have a hackney-man's wand silvered 
o'er a-purpose for you) ; then, arriving in the circle, 
with a huge word, and a great trample — as, for in- 
stance, hi ve you never seen a stalking, stamping play- 
er, that will raise a tempest with his tongue, and thun- 
der with his heels V 

Capt. yes, yes, yes ; often, often. 

Pye. Why, be like such a one. For anything will 
blear the old knight's eyes ; for you must note that 

3 To the horizon. 
■* Acted thy wishes. 

5 That is, bending. He is seeking, soliciting on thy be- 

6 A highwayman's horse, the tail of which is removable aS 
the will of the owner. 

7 "A robustious, peri wig-pated fellow," &c. — Hamlet. 



he'll ne'er dare to venture into the room, only perhaps 
peep fearfully through the keyhole, to see how the 
play goes forward. 

Capt. Well, I may go about it when I will; — but 
mark the end on't : I shall but shame myself, i'faith, 
George. Speak big words, and stamp and stare, and 
he look in at keyhole ! Why, the very thought of 
that would make me laugh outright, and spoil all. 
Nay, I'll tell thee, George, when I apprehend a thing 
once, I am of such a laxative laughter, that, if the 
devil himself stood by, I should laugh in his face ! 

Pye. Pub. ! that's but the babe of a man, and may 
easily be hushed — as, to think upon some disaster, 
some sad misfortune, as the death of thy father i'th' 

Capt. 'Sfoot ! that would be the more to drive me 
into such an ecstasy, that I should ne'er lin 1 laughing 

Pye. Why, then, think upon going to hanging. 

Capt. Mass ! that's well remembered : now I'll do 
well, I warrant thee ; ne'er fear me now. But how 
shall I do, George, for boisterous words and horrible 

Pye. Puh ! any fustian invocations, captain, will 
serve as well as the best, so you rant them out well ; 
or you may go to a 'pothecary's shop, and take all 
the words from the boxes. 

Capt. Troth, and you say true, George : there's 
strange words enow to raise a hundred quack-salvers, 
though they be ne'er so poor when they begin. But 
here lies the fear on't : how, if in this false conjura- 
tion, a true devil should pop up indeed ? 

Pye. A true devil, captain ? why, there was ne'er 
such a one. Nay, i'faith, he that has this place, is as 
false a knave as our last church-warden. 

Capt. Then he's false enough o' conscience, i'faith, 

[Prisoners cry within.'] Good gentlemen over the 
way, send your relief; good gentlemen over the way, 
good Sir Godfrey ! — 

Pye. He's come, he's come ! 

Enter Sir Godfrey, Edmond, and Nicholas. 

Nich. Master, that's my kinsman yonder, in the 
buffjerkin. Kinsman, that's my master yonder, i'th' 
taffaty hat. Pray, salute him entirely. 

[Sir Godfrey and Idle salute, and 
Pyeboard salutes Edmond. 

Sir God. Now, my friend — 

[Sir Godfrey arid Tdle converse apart. 

Pye. May I partake your name, sir ? 

Edm. My name is Master Edmond. 

Pye. Master Edmond ? Are you not a Welshman, 
sir ? 

Edm. A Welshman ? why ? 

Pye. Because master is your Christian name, and 
Edmond your surname. 

Edm. O no ; I have more names at home : Master 
Edmond Plus is my full name at length. 

Pye. 0, cry you mercy, sir. 

Capt. [aside to Sir Godfrey] . I understand that you 
are my kinsman's good master, and, in regard of that, 
the best of my skill is at your service. But had you 
fortuned a mere stranger, and made no means to me 
by acquaintance, I should have utterly denied to have 

i "Lin" — to stop, to cease. 

been the man ; both by reason of the act of parlia- 
ment against conjurers and witches, 2 as also because 
I would not have my art vulgar, trite, and common. 

Sir God. I much commend your care there, good 
captain conjurer ; and that I will be sure to have it 
private enough, you shall do't in my sister's house — 
mine own house I may call it, for both our charges 
therein are proportioned. 

Capt. Very good, sir. What may I call your loss, 

Sir God. 0, you may call't a great loss, a grievous 
loss, sir : as goodly a chain of gold, though I say it, 
that wore it — how say'st thou, Nicholas ? 

Nich. 0, 'twas as delicious a chain of gold, kins- 
man, you know 

Sir God. You know ? did you know't, captain? 

Capt. Trust a fool with secrets ! [Aside] . Sir, he 
may say I know. His meaning is, because my art is 
such, that by it I may gather a knowledge of all 

Sir God. Ay, very true. 

Capt. A pox of all fools ! The excuse stuck upon my 
tongue like ship-pitch upon a mariner's gown, not to 
come off in haste. [Aside.] — By'rlady, knight, to lose 
such a fair chain of gold were a foul loss. Well, I 
can put you in this good comfort on't, if it be be- 
tween heaven and earth, knight, I'll have it for you. 

Sir God. A wonderful conjurer ! O, ay ; 'tis be- 
tween heaven and earth, 1 warrant you : it can not go 
out of the realm. I know 'tis somewhere about the 

Capt. Ay, nigher the earth than thou wot'st of. 


Sir God. For, first, my chain was rich: and no rich 
thing shall enter into heaven, you know. 

Nich. And as for the devil, master, he has no need 
on't, for you know he has a great chain of his own. 

Sir God. Thou say'st true, Nicholas, but he has 
put off that now ; that lies by him. 

Capt. I'faith, knight, in few words, I presume so 
much upon the power of my art, that I could warrant 
your chain again. 

Sir God. dainty captain ! 

Capt. Marry, it will cost me much sweat. I were 
better go to sixteen hot-houses. 

Sir God. Ay, good man, I warrant thee. 

Capt. Beside great vexation of kidney and liver. 

Nich. 0, 'twill tickle you hereabouts, cousin, be- 
cause you have not been used to't. 

Sir God. No ? Have you not been used to't, cap- 
tain ? 

Capt. Plague of all fools still ! [Aside.] Indeed, 
knight, I have not used it a good while, and therefore 
'twill strain me so much the more, you know. 

Sir God. 0, it will, it will ! 

Capt. What plunges he puts me to ! Were not this 
knight a fool, I had been twice spoiled now. That 
captain's worse than accursed that has an ass to his 
kinsman. 'Sfoot ! I fear he will drivel it out before 
I come to't. [Aside.] Now, sir, to come to the point, 
indeed, you see I stick here in the jaw of the Mar- 
shalsea, and can not do't. 

Sir God. Tut, tut — I know thy meaning. Thou 
wouldst say thou'rt a prisoner. I tell thee thou art 

2 An act passed in the first year of James I. (1604). 


Capt. How, none ? Why, is not this the Marshal- 

Sir God. Wilt hear me speak ? I heard of thy rare 
conjuring : — 

My chain was lost ; I sweat for thy release, 
As thou shalt do the like at home for me. — 
Keeper ! 

Enter Keeper. 

Keep. Sir ! 

Sir God. Speak, is not this man free ? 

Keep. Yes, at his pleasure, sir, the fees discharged. 

Sir God. Go, go ; I'll discharge them, I. 

Keep. I thank your worship. [Exit Keeper. 

Capt. Now, trust me, you are a dear knight. Kind- 
ness unexpected ! O, there's nothing to a free gen- 
tleman. I will conjure for you, sir, till froth come 
through my buff jerkin. 

Sir God. Nay, then thou shalt not pass with so lit- 
tle a bounty, for, at the first sight of my chain again, 
forty-five angels shall appear unto thee. 

Capt. 'Twill be a glorious show, i'faith, knight, a 
very fine show ; but are all these of your own house ? 
are you sure of that, sir ? 

Sir God. Ay, ay ; no, no : what's he yonder talking 
with my wild nephew ? Pray Heaven, he give him j 
good counsel. 

Capt. Who, he? He's a rare friend of mine, an 
admirable fellow, knight — the finest fortune-teller ! 

Sir God. 0, 'tis he, indeed, that came to my lady- 
sister, and foretold the loss of my chain. I am not 
angry with him now, for I see 'twas my fortune to 
lose it. — By your leave, master fortune-teller, I had 
a glimpse of you at home, at my sister's the widow's. 
There you prophesied of the loss of a chain. Sim- 
ply, though I stand here, 1 was he that lost it. 

Pye. Was it you, sir ? 

Edm. 0' my troth, nuncle, he's the rarest fellow — 
has told me my fortune so right ; I find it so right to 
my nature ! 

Sir God. What is't ? God send it a good one. 

Edm. 0, 'tis a passing good one, nuncle : for he says 
I shall prove such an excellent gamester in my time, 
that I shall spend all faster than my father got it. 

Sir God. There's a fortune, indeed ! 

Edm. Nay, it hits my humor so pat. 

Sir God. Ay, that will be the end on't. Will the 
curse of the beggar prevail so much, that the son 
shall consnme that foolishly which the father got 
craftily? Ay, ay, ay ; 'twill, 'twill, 'twill. 

Pye. Stay, stay, stay ! [Pyeboard opens an alma- 
nac, and takes Idle aside. 

Capt. Turn over, George. 

Pye. June, July ; here, July : that's the month : — 
Sunday thirteen, yesterday fourteen, to-day fifteen. 

Capt. Look quickly for the fifteenth day. If, with- 
in the compass of these two days there would be 
some boisterous storm or other, it would be the best ; 
I'd defer him off till then. Some tempest, an it be thy 

Pye. Here's the fifteenth day. [Reads.] Hot and 

Capt. Puh ! would it had been hot and foul. 

Pye. The sixteenth day ; that's to-morrow. The 
morning, for the most part, fair and pleasant. 

Capt. No luck. 

Pye. But about high noon, liqhtning and thunder. 

Capt. Lightning and thunder? Admirable! best 
of all ! I'll conjure to-morrow just at high noon, 

Pye. Happen but true to-morrow, almanac, and I'll 
give thee leave to lie all the year after. 

Capt. Sir, I must crave your patience, to bestow 
this day upon me, that I may furnish myself strongly. 
I sent a spirit into Lancashire t'other day, to fetch 
back a knave-drover, and I look for his return this 
evening. To-morrow morning, my friend here and I 
will come and breakfast with you. 

Sir God. O, you shall be most welcome. 

Capt. And about noon, without fail, I purpose to 

Sir God. Midnoon will be a fit time for you. 

Edm. Conjuring? do you mean to conjure at our 
house tomorrow, sir? 

Capt. Marry, do I, sir ; 'tis my intent, young gen- 

Edm. By my troth, I'll love you while I live, for't. 

rare ! Nicholas, we shall have conjuring to-mor- 

Nich. Puh ! ay ; I could have told you of that. 

Capt. La, he could have told him of that .' Fool, 
coxcomb, could you ? [Aside.] 

Edm. Do you hear me, sir ? I desire more acquaint- 
ance of you. You shall earn some money of me, now 

1 know you can conjure ; but can you fetch any that 
is lost ? 

Capt. Oh, anything that's lost. 

Edm. Why, look you, sir ; I tell't you as a friend 
and a conjurer : I should marry a 'pothecary's daugh- 
ter, and 'twas told me she lost her maidenhead at 
Stony-Stratford. Now if you'll do but so much as 
conjure for't, and make all whole again 

Capt. That I will, sir. 

Edm. By my troth, I thank you, la. 

Capt. A little merry with your sister's son, sir. 

Sir God. Oh, a simple young man, very simple. 
Come, captain ; and you, sir : we'll e'en part with a 
gallon of wine till to-morrow breakfast. 

Capt. and Pye. Troth, agreed, sir. 

Nich. Kinsman, scholar ! 

Pye. Why, now thou art a good knave, worth a 
hundred Brownists. 

Nich. Am I, indeed ? la, I thank you heartily, la ! 



SCENE I. — An Apartment in the Widow's House. 
Enter Mary and Sir John Pennydub. 

Sir John. But I hope you will not serve a knight 
so, gentlewoman, will you ? to cashier him, and cast 
him off at your pleasure ! What, do you think I was 
dubbed for nothing ? No, by my faith, lady's daugh- 

Mary. Pray, Sir John Pennydub, let it be deferred 
a while ; I have as much heart to marry as you can 
have ; but, as the fortune-teller told me 

Sir John. Pox o' th' fortune-teller ! Would Der- 
rick 1 had been his fortune seven year ago — to cross 
my love thus .' Did he know what case I was in ? — 

1 Derrick was the name of the common hangman at this 



Why, this is able to make a man drown himself in 
his father's fish-pond. 

Mary. And then he told me, moreover, Sir John, 
that the breach of it kept my father in purgatory. 

Sir John. In purgatory ? Why, let him purge out 
his heart there ; what have we to do with that ? — 
there's physicians enow there to cast his water :"■ is 
that any matter to us now ? can he hinder our love ? 
Why, let him be hanged, now he's dead. Well, have 
I rid post day and night, to bring you merry news of 
my father's death, and now 

Mary. Thy father's death? Is the old farmer 

Sir John. As dead as his barn-door, Moll. 

Mary. And you'll keep your word with me now, 
Sir John, that I shall have my coach and my coach- 

Sir John. Ay, i'faith. 

Mary. And two white horses with black feathers 
to draw it ? 

Sir John. Two. 

Mary. A guarded lackey 2 to run before it, and pied 
liveries to come trashing 3 after't ? 

Sir John. Thou shalt, Moll. 

Mary. And to let me have money in my purse to go 
whither I will I 

Sir John. All this. 

Mary. Then come ; whatsoe'er comes on't, we'll 
be made sure together before the maids o'th' kitchen. 


SCENE II. — A Room in the Widow's House, with a 
door at the side, leading to another Apartment. 

Enter Widow, Frances, and Frailty. 

Wid. How now? where's my brother Sir Godfrey? 
Went he forth this morning ? 

Frail. no, madam ; he's above at breakfast, with 
Sir Reverence, a conjurer. 

Wid. A conjurer ? what manner of fellow is he ? 

Frail. Oh, a wondrous rare fellow, mistress ; very 
strongly made upward, for he goes in a buff" jerkin. 
He says he will fetch Sir Godfrey's chain again, if it 
hang between heaven and earth. 

Wid. What ! he will not ? Then he's an excellent 
fellow, I warrant. How happy were that woman, to 
be blest with such a husband ! A cunning man ! how 
does he look, Frailty? Very swartly, I warrant — 
with black beard, scorched cheeks, and smoky eye- 

Frail. Foh ! he's neither smoke-dried, nor scorched, 
nor black, nor nothing. I tell you, madam, he looks 
as fair to see to as one of us. I do not think but, if you 
saw him once, you'd take him to be a Christian. 

Frances. So fair, and yet so cunning ? That's to 
be wondered at, mother. 

Enter Sir Oliver Muckhill and Sir Andrew Tir- 


Sir Oli. Bless you, sweet lady. 

Sir And. And you, fair mistress. [Exit Frailty. 

1 Medical divination from the inspection of urine. 

2 A " guarded lackey'' was one whose liveries were faced 
or guarded. 

3 " Trashing'' really means trailing, in this connexion. It 
is a term derived from the mode of breaking dogs who were 
too eager in the chase, by a long rope, which trashed or 
trailed along the ground, and impeded his movements. 

Wid. Coades, what do you mean, gentlemen ? Fie, 
did I not give you your answers ? 

Sir Oli. Sweet lady ! 

Wid. Well, I will not stick with you for a kiss : 
Daughter, kiss the gentleman for once. 

Frances. Yes, forsooth. 

Sir And. I'm proud of such a favor. 

Wid. Truly, la ! Sir Oliver, you are much to blame 
to come again when you know my mind so well de- 
livered — as a widow could deliver a thing. 

Sir OIL But I expect a further comfort, lady. 

Wid. Why la you now ! did I not desire you to put 
off* your suit quite and clean when you came to me 
again ? How say you ? Did I not ? 

Sir Oli. But the sincere love which my heart bears 
to you 

Wid. Go to, I'll cut you oft. And, Sir Oliver, to 
put you in comfort, afar off", my fortune is read me : 
I must marry again. 

Sir Oli. O blest fortune ! 

Wid. But not as long as I can choose ; nay, I'll 
hold out well. 

Sir Oli. Yet are my hopes now fairer. 

Enter Frailty. 

Frail. 0, madam, madam ! 

Wid. How now ? what's the haste ? 

[Frailty whispers her. 

Sir And. I'faith, Mistress Frances, I'll maintain 
you gallantly. I'll bring you to court ; wean you 
among the fair society of ladies, poor kinswomen of 
mine, in cloth of silver ; besides, you shall have your 
monkey, your parrot, your musk-cat, and your 

Frances. It will do very well. 

Wid. What, does he mean to conjure here, then? 
How shall I do to be rid of these knights ? — Please 
you, gentlemen, to walk a while i'th' garden, to gath- 
er a pink or a gilliflower ? 

Both. With all our hearts, lady, and 'count us fa- 
vored. [Exeunt Sir Andrew, Sir Oliver, and 
Frailty ; the Widow and Frances 
go into the adjoining room. 

Sir God. [within]. Step in, Nicholas ; look, is the 
coast clear ? 

Nich. [within]. Oh, as clear as a cat's eye, sir? 

Sir God. Then enter, captain conjurer. 

Enter Sir Godfrey, Captain Idle, Pyeboard, Ed- 
mond, and Nicholas. 

Now, how like you your room, sir ? 

Capt. 0, wonderful convenient. 

Edm. I can tell you, captain, simply though it lies 
here, 'tis the fairest room in my mother's house ; as 
dainty a room to conjure in, methinks — why, you 
may bid, I can not tell how many devils, welcome 
in't ; my father has had twenty in't at once. 

Pye. What, devils ? 

Edm. Devils? no, deputies, and the wealthiest men 
he could get. 

Sir God. Nay, put by your chats now ; fall to your 
business roundly. The fescue of the dial is upon the 
Christ-cross of noon. 4 But oh, hear me, captain j a 
qualm comes o'er my stomach. 

Capt. Why, what's the matter, sir? 

Sir God. 0, how if the devil should prove a knave, 
and tear the hangings ? 

4 " Fescue," the pointer. 


Capt. Foh ! I warrant you, Sir Godfrey. 

Edm. Ay, nuncle, or spit fire upo' the ceiling? 

Sir God. Very true, too ; for 'tis but thin plastered, 
and 'twill quickly take hold o' the laths ; and if he 
chance to spit downward too, he will burn all the 

Capt. My life for yours, Sir Godfrey. 

Sir God. My sister is very curious and dainty of this 
room, I can tell you ; and, therefore, if he must needs 
spit, I pray desire him to spit i'th' chimney. 

Pye. Why, assure you, Sir Godfrey, he shall not be 
brought up with so little manners, to spit and spawl 
o' the floor. 

Sir God. Why, I thank you ; good captain, pray, 
have a care. [Idle and Pyeboard retire to the upper 
end of the room.] Ay, fall to your circle ; we'll not 
trouble you, I warrant you. Come, we'll into the 
next room ; and, because we'll be sure to keep him 
out there, we'll bar up the door with some of the god- 
ly's zealous works. 

Edm. That will be a fine device, nuncle ; and, be- 
cause the ground shall be as holy as the door, I'll 
tear two or three rosaries in pieces, and strew the 
pieces about the chamber. Oh, the devil already ! 

[Lightning and thunder. 

Pye. 'Sfoot ! captain, speak somewhat, for shame : 
it lightens and thunders before thou wilt begin. Why, 
when — 

Capt. Pray, peace, George ; thou'lt make me laugh 
anon, and spoil all. [Lightning and thunder. 

Pye. Oh, now it begins again ; now, now, now, cap- 
tain ! 

Capt. Rhumbos-ragdayon, pur, pur, colucundrion, 
hoisplois ! 

Sir God. [at the door]. 0, admirable conjurer ! has 
fetched thunder already. 

Pye. Hark, hark ! Again, captain ! 

Capt. Benjamino, gaspois-kay-gofgothoteron-umbrois! 

Sir God. [at the door]. Oh, I would the devil would 
come away quickly ; he has no conscience, to put a 
man to such pain ! 

Pye. Again. 

Capt. Flowste kak opumpos-dragone-leloomenos-hodge 
podge ! 

Pye. Well said, captain. 

Sir God. [at the door]. So long a coming ? 0, would 
I had ne'er begun it, now, for I fear me these roaring 
tempests will destroy all the fruits of the earth, and 
tread upon my corn [thunder] — oh — i'th' country ! 

Capt. Gog de gog, hobgoblin huncks hounslow hock- 
ley te coom park ! 

Wid. [at the door]. 0, brother, brother, what a tem- 
pest i'th' garden ! Sure there's some conjuration 

Sir God. [at the door]. 'Tis at home, sister. 

Pye. By-and-by, I'll step in, captain. 

Capt. Nunck-nunck, rip-gascoines, ips, drip-dropite ! 

Sir God. [at the door]. He drips and drops, poor 
man ; alas ! alas ! 

Pye. Now, I come ! 

Capt. O, sulphure sootface ! 

Pye. Arch-conjurer, what wouldst thou with me ? 

Sir God. [at the door]. Oh, the devil, sister, i'th' 
dining-chamber ! Sing, sister ; I warrant you that 
will keep him out : quickly, quickly, quickly ! 

Pye. So, so, so : I'll release thee. Enough, cap- 
tain, enough. Allow us some time to laugh a little ; 

they're shuddering and shaking by this time, as if an 
earthquake were in their kidneys. 

Capt. Sirrah George, how was't, how was't ? did I 
do't well enough ? 

Pye. Woult believe me, captain ? better than any 
conjurer ; for here was no harm in this, and yet their 
horrible expectations satisfied well. You were much 
beholden to thunder and lightning at this time ; it 
graced you well, 1 can tell you. 

Capt. I must needs say so, George. Sirrah, if we 
could have conveyed hither cleanly a cracker, or a 
fire-wheel, it had been admirable. 

Pye. Blurt, blurt .' There's nothing remains to put 
thee to pain now, captain. 

Capt. Pain? I protest, George, my heels are sorer 
than a Whitsun morris-dancer's. 

Pye. All's past now; — only to reveal that the 
chain's i'th' garden, where, thou know'st, it has lain 
these two days. 

Capt. But I fear that fox Nicholas has revealed it 

Pye. Fear not, captain ; you must put it to th' ven- 
ture now. Nay, 'tis time : call upon 'em, take pity 
on 'em ; for I believe some of 'em are in a pitiful case 
by this time. 

Capt. Sir Godfrey ! Nicholas — kinsman! 'Sfoot! 
they're fast at it still, George. Sir Godfrey ! 

Sir God. [at the door] . Oh ! is that the devil's voice ? 
how comes he to know my name ? 

Capt. Fear not, Sir Godfrey; all's quieted. 

Enter Sir Godfrey, the Widow, Frances, and Nich- 

Sir God. What ! is he laid ? 

Capt. Laid : and has newly dropped your chain i' 
th' garden. 

Sir God. I'th' garden ? in our garden ? 

Capt. In your garden. 

Sir God. 0, sweet conjurer ! whereabouts there ? 

Capt. Look well about a bank of rosemary. 

Sir God. Sister, the rosemary-bank ! Come, come : 
there's my chain, he says. 

Wid. Oh, happiness ! run, run .' [Exeunt Widow, 
Sir Godfrey, Frances, and Nicholas. 

Edm. [at the door]. Captain conjurer! 

Capt. Who ? Master Edmond ? 

Edm. Ay, Master Edmond. May I come in safely 
without danger, think you ? 

Capt. Puh ! long ago ; it is all as 'twas at first : 
Fear nothing ; pray, come near. How now, man ? 

Edm. Oh ! this room's mightily hot, i'faith. 'Slid ! 
my shirt sticks to my belly already. What a steam 
the rogue has left behind him ! Foh ! this room must 
be aired, gentlemen ; it smells horribly of brimstone. 
Let's open the windows. 

Pye. I'faith, Master Edmond, 'tis but your conceit. 

Edm. I would you could make me believe that, 
i'faith. Why, do you think I can not smell his savor 
from another ? Yet I take it kindly from you, be- 
cause you would not put me in a fear, i'faith. O' my 
troth, I shall love you for this the longest day of my 

Capt. Puh ! 'tis nothing, sir : love me when you see 

Edm. Mass, now I remember : I'lllook whether he 
has singed the hangings or no. 

Pye. Captain, to entertain a little sport till they 



come, make him believe you'll charm him invisible. 
He's apt to admire anything, you see. Let me alone 
to give force to't. 

Capt. Go, retire to yonder end, then. 

Edm. I protest you are a rare fellow, are you not ? 

Capt. O, Master Edmond, you know but the least 
part of me yet. Why now, at this instant, I could 
flourish my wand thrice o'er your head, and charm 
you invisible. 

Edm. What ! you could not ? Make me walk in- 
visible, man ? I should laugh at that, i'faith ; troth, 
I'll requite your kindness, an you'll do't, good cap- 
tain conjurer. 

Capt. Nay, I should hardly deny you such a small 
kindness, Master Edmond Plus. Why, look you, sir, 
'tis no more but this, and thus again — and now you 
are invisible. 

Edm. Am I, i'faith ? who would think it ? 

Capt. You see the fortune-teller yonder, at farther 
end o'th' chamber? Go toward him, do what you 
will with him — he shall ne'er find you. 

Edm. Say you so, I'll try that, i'faith. — 

[Jostles him. 

Pye. How now, captain ? who's that jostled me ? 

Capt. Jostled you ? I saw nobody. 

Edm. Ha, ha, ha ! — say 'twas a spirit. 

[Aside to Idle. 

Capt. Shall I? — May be some spirits that haunt 
the circle. [Edmond pulls Pyeboard's nose. 

Pye. 0, my nose, again ! Pray conjure them, cap- 

Edm. Troth, this is excellent. I may do any 
knavery now and never be seen. — And now I remem- 
ber me, Sir Godfrey, my uncle abused me t'other day, 
and told tales of me to my mother. — Troth, now I'm 
invisible, I'll hit him a sound wherrit o'th' ear, when 
he comes out o'th' garden. — I may be revenged on 
him now finely. 

Enter Sir Godfrey. Widow, and Frances. 

Sir God. I have my chain again ; my chain's found 
again. 0, sweet captain ! 0, admirable conjurer ! 
(Ei)mond strikes him.] O, what mean you by that, 
nephew ? 

Edm. Nephew? I hope you do not know me, 
uncle ? 

Wid. Why did you strike your uncle, son? 

Edm. Why, captain, am I not invisible ? 

Capt. A good jest, George ! Not now you are not, 
sir ! 
Why, did not you see me when I did uncharm you ? 

Edm. Not I, by my troth, captain. Then pray you 
pardon me, uncle. I thought I had been invisible 
wheu I struck you. 

Sir God. So, you would do't ? Go, — you're a fool- 
ish boy, 
And were I not o'ercome with greater joy, 
I'd make you taste correction. 

Edm. Correction! puh. — No, neither you nor my 
mother [now] shall think to whip me as you have 

Sir God. Captain, my joy is such, I know not how 
to thank you ; let me embrace you. O, my sweet 
chain ! gladness e'en makes me giddy. Rare man ! 
'twas just i'th' rosemary bank, as if one should have 
laid it there. 0, cunning, cunning ! 

Wid. Well, seeing my fortune tells me I must mar- 

ry, let me marry a man of wit, a man of parts. 
Here's a worthy captain, and 'tis a fine title truly, la, 
to be a captain's wife. A captain's wife ! it goes very 
finely ; beside, all the world knows that a worthy 
captain is a fit companion to any lord ; then why not 
a sweet bedfellow for any lady ? — I'll have it so. — 

Enter Frailty. 

Frail. 0, mistress — gentlemen — there's the bravest 
sight coming along this way. 

Wid. What brave sight ? 

Frail. O, one going to burying, and another going 
to hanging. 

Wid. A rueful sight ! 

Pye. 'Sfoot, captain, I'll pawn my life the corporal's 
coffined, and old Skirmish the soldier going to exe- 
cution ; and 'tis now about the time of his waking. 
Hold out a little longer, sleepy potion, and we shall 
have excellent admiration ; for I'll take upon me the 
cure of him. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III.— The Street before the Widow's House. 

Enter from the House, Sir Godfrey, the Widow, Idle, 
Pyeboard, Edmond, Frailty, and Nicholas. A 
Coffin, with Corporal Oath in it, brought in. Then 
enter Skirmish, bound and led by Officers, the Sher- 
iff, SfC, attending. 

Frail. O, here they come, here they come ! 

Pye. Now must I close secretly with the soldier, 
prevent his impatience, or else all's discovered. 

Wid. 0, lamentable seeing, these were those 
brothers, that fought and bled before our door. 

Sir God. What ! they were not, sister? 

Skir. George, look to't, I'll 'peach at Tyburn else. 

Pye. Mum. — Gentles all, vouchsafe me audience, 
And you especially, good master sheriff : 
Yon man is bound to execution, because 
He wounded this that now lies coffined [here]. 

Sher. True, true ; he shall have the law, — and I 
know the law. 

Pye. But, under favor, master sheriff: if this man 
had been cured and safe again, he should have been 
released, then ? 

Sher. Why, make you question of that, sir? 

Pye. Then I release him freely, and will take upon 
me the death that he should die, if, within a little 
season, I do not cure him to his proper health again. 

Sher. How, sir ? recover a dead man ? 
That were most strange of all ! 

[Frances approaches Pyeboard. 

Fi-anccs. Sweet sir. Hove you dearly, and could wish 
My best part yours ! — O do not undertake 
Such an impossible venture ! 

Pye. Love you me ? then for your sweet sake I'll 
do't : 
Let me entreat the corpse be set down [here]. 

Sher. Bearers, set down the coffin. — This is won- 
derful, and worthy Stow's Chronicle. 

Pye. I pray bestow the freedom of the air upon our 
wholesome art. — Mass, his cheeks begin to receive 
natural warmth : nay, good corporal, wake betime, 
or I shall have a longer sleep than you. — 'Sfoot, if 
he should prove dead indeed now, he were fully re- 
venged upon me for making a property of him ; yet I 
had rather run upon the ropes, than have the rope 


like a tetter run upon me. 0, he stirs ! — he stirs 
again ! — ! look, gentlemen, he recovers ! he starts .' 
he rises ! 

Sher. Oh, oh, defend us ! — Out, alas ! 

Pye. Nay, pray be still ; you'll make him more 
giddy else. — He knows nobody yet. 

Corp. Zounds ! where am I ? covered with snow ? 
I marvel ? 

Pye. Nay, I knew he would swear the first thing he 
did, as soon as he came to life again. 

Corp. 'LSfoot, hostess — some hot porridge. — Oh! 
oh ! lay on a dozen of fagots in the moon parlor, 

Pye. Lady, you must needs take a little pity of him. 
i'faith, and send him into your kitchen fire. 

Wid. 0, with all my heart, sir ; Nicholas and Frail- 
ty, help to bear him in. 

Nich. Bear him in, quotha ! pray call out the maids. 
I shall ne'er have the heart to do't, indeed, la. 

Frail. Nor I neither. I can not abide to handle a 
ghost, of all men. 

Corp. 'Sblood, let me see, where was I drunk last 
night ? hah 

Wid. O, shall I bid you once again, take him away ? 

Frail. Why, we're as fearful as you, 1 warrant you 
— oh 

Wid. Away, villains, bid the maids make him a 
caudle presently to settle his brain — or a posset of 
sack ; quickly, quickly. 

[Exeunt Nicholas and Frailty, 
pushing in the Corporal. 

Sher. Sir, whatsoe'er you are, I do more than ad- 
mire you. 

Wid. O, ay, if you knew all, master sheriff, as you 
shall do, you would say then, that here were two of 
the rarest men within the walls of Christendom. 

Sher. Two of 'em ? wonderful ! Officers, I dis- 
charge you ; set him free ; all's in tune. 

Sir God. Ay, and a banquet ready by this time, 
master sheriff, to which I most cheerfully invite you, 
and your late prisoner there. See you this goodly 
chain, sir? Mum! no more words ; 'twas lost and 
is found again. Come, my inestimable bullies, we'll 
talk of your noble acts in sparkling charnico, 1 and, 
instead of a jester, we'll have the ghost i'th' white 
sheet sit at upper end o'th' table. 

Sher. Excellent ! merry man, i'faith. 

[Exeunt all but Frances. 

Frances. Well, seeing I'm enjoined to love and 
My foolish vow thus I cashier to air 
Which first begot it.— Now, love, play thy part ; 
The scholar reads his lecture in my heart. [Exit. 


SCENE I.— The Street before the Widow's House. 
Enter Edmond and Frailty. 

Edm. This is the marriage-morning for my mother 
and my sister. 

Frail. me, Master Edmond ! we shall have rare 

1 Charnico — a sweet wine of Lisbon. 

Edm. Nay, go, Frailty, run to the sexton ; you 
know my mother will be married at Saint Antlings. 
Hie thee ; 'tis past five ; bid them open the church 
door ; my sister is almost ready. 

Frail. What, already, Master Edmond ? 

Edm. Nay, go ; hie thee. First run to the sexton, 
and run to the clerk : and then run to Master Pigman, 
the parson ; and then run to the milliner ; and then 
run home again. 

Frail. Here's run, run, run. 

Edm. But hark, Frailty. 

Frail. What, more yet ? 

Edm. Have the maids remembered to strew the 
way to the church. 

Frail. Foh ! an hour ago : I helped 'em myself. 

Edm. Away, away, away ; away then. 

Frail. Away, away, away ; away then. 

\Exit Frailty. 

Edm. I shall have a simple father-in-law, a brave 
captain, able to beat all our street, Captain Idle. Now 
my lady mother will be fitted for a delicate name ; 
my lady Idle, my lady Idle ! the finest name that can 
be for a woman ; and then the scholar, Master Pye- 
board, for my sister Frances, that will be, Mistress 
Frances Pyeboard ; Mistress Frances Pyeboard ! 
They'll keep a good table, I warrant you. Now all 
the knights' noses are put out of joint ; they may go 
to a bone-setter's now. 

Enter Captain Idle, Pyeboard, and Attendants. 

Hark, hark ! O, who comes here with two torches be- 
fore them ? my sweet captain and my fine scholar ? 
0, how bravely they are shot up in one night ! They 
look like fine Britons now methinks. Here's a gallant 
change, i'faith. 'Slid, they have hired men, and all, 
by the clock. 

Capt. Master Edmond ; kind, honest, dainty Mas- 
ter Edmond. 

Edm. Foh, sweet captain father-in-law ! a rare per- 
fume, i'faith. 

Pye. What, are the brides stirring? May we steal 
upon 'em, thinkst thou, Master Edmond? 

Edm. Foh ! they're e'en upon readiness, I can as- 
sure you ; for they were at their torch e'en now ; by 
the same token I tumbled down the stairs. 

Pye. Alas, poor Master Edmond. 

Enter Musicians. 

Capt. 0, the musicians! I pry'thee, Master Ed- 
mond, call 'em in, and liquor 'em a little. 

Edm. That I will, sweet captain father-in-law, and 
make each of them as drunk as a common fidler. 


SCENE II.— The same. 

Enter Mary in a balcony above. To her below Sir 
John Pennydub. 

Sir John. Whew ! Mistress Moll, Mistress Moll. 

Mary. Who's there ? 

Sir John. 'Tis I. 

Mary. Who ? Sir John Pennydub ? O, you're an 
early cock, i'faith. Who would have thought you to 
be so rare a stirrer ? 

Sir John. Pry'thee, Moll, let me come up. 

Mary. No, by my faith, Sir John ; I'll keep you 



down ; for you knights are very dangerous, if once 
you get above. 

Sir John. I'll not stay, i'faith. 

Mary. I'faith, you shall stay ; for, Sir John, you 
must note the nature of the climates : your northern 
wench in her own country may well hold out till she 
be fifteen ; but if she touch the south once, and come 
up to London, here the chimes go presently after 

Sir John. 0, thou'rt a mad wench, Moll, but I 
pr'ythee make haste, for the priest is gone before. 

Mary. Do you follow him ; I'll not be long after. 


SCENE III. — ^1 Room in Sir Oliver Muckhill's 


Enter Sir Oliver Muckhill, Sir Andrew Tipstaff, 

and Skirmish. 

Sir Oli. 0, monstrous, unheard-of forgery ! 

Sir And. Knight, I never heard of such villany, in 
our own country, in my life. 

Sir Oli. Why, 'tis impossible. Dare you maintain 
your words ? 

Skir. Dare we ? Even to their weazen-pipes. We 
know all their plots ; they can not squander with us ; 
they have knavishly abused us ; made only properties 
of us to advance themselves upon our shoulders : but 
they shall rue their abuses. This morning they are 
to be married. 

Sir Oli. 'Tis too true. Yet if the widow be not too 
much besotted on sleights and forgeries, the revela- 
tion of their villanies will make 'em loathsome. And, 
to that end — be it in private to you — I sent late last 
night to an honorable personage, to whom I am much 
indebted in kindness, as he is to me, and therefore 
presume upon the payment of his tongue, and that he 
will lay out good words for me ; and, to speak truth, 
for such needfid occasions only, I preserve him in 
bond ; and sometimes he may do me more good here 
in the city, by a free word of his mouth, than if he 
had paid one half in hand, and took doomsday for 

Sir And. In troth, sir, without soothing be it spo- 
ken, [words. 
You have published much judgment in these few 

Sir Oli. For you know, what such a man utters 
will be thought effectual, and to weighty purpose ; 
and therefore into his mouth we'll put the approved 
theme of their forgeries. 

Skir. And I'll maintain it, knight, if she'll be true. 

Enter a Servant. 

Sir Oli. How now, fellow ? 

Serv. May it please you, sir, my lord is newly light- 
ed from his coach. 

Sir Oli. Is my lord come already? His honor's 
You see he loves me well. Up before seven ? [early. 
Trust me, I have found him night-capped at eleven : 
There's good hope yet ; come, I'll relate all to him. 


SCENE IV. — A Street ; Church in the Distance. 

Enter Captain Idle, Pyeboard, Sir Godfrey, and 
Edmond ; the Widow in bridal Dress ; Sir John Pen- 
nydub, Mary and Frances, Nicholas, Frailty, 
and other Attendants. To them a Nobleman, Sir 
Oliver Muckhill, and Sir Andrew Tipstaff. 

Noble. By your leave, lady ! 

Wid. My lord, your honor ismost chastely welcome. 

Noble. Madam, though I came now from court, I 
come not. to flatter you. Upon whom can I justly cast 
this blot, but upon your own forehead, that know not 
ink from milk? — such is the blind besotting in the 
state of an unheaded woman that's a widow. For it 
is the property of all you that are widows (a handful 
excepted) to hate those that honestly and carefully 
love you, to the maintenance of credit, state, and 
posterity ; and strongly to dote on those that only 
love you to undo you. [They who] regard you least, 
are best regarded ; who hate you most, are best be- 
loved. And if there be but one man amongst ten thou- 
sand millions of men that is accursed, disastrous, and 
evilly-planeted — whom fortune beats most, whom 
God hates most, and all societies esteem least — that 
man is sure to be a husband. Such is the peevish 
moon that rules your bloods. An impudent fellow 
best woos you, a flattering lip best wins you ; or, in 
mirth, who talks roughliest, is most sweetest. Nor 
can you distinguish truth from forgeries, mists from 
simplicity : witness these two deceitful monsters, that 
you have entertained for bridegrooms ! 

Wid. Deceitful 

Pye. All will out. 

Capt. 'Sfoot ! who has blabbed, George ? that fool- 
ish Nicholas ! 

Noble. For, what they have besotted your easy 
blood withal, were nought but forgeries : the fortune- 
telling for husbands, and the conjuring for the chain ; 
Sir Godfrey, hear the falsehood of all : nothing but 
mere knavery, deceit, and cozenage. 

Wid. 0, wonderful ! Indeed, I wondered that my 
husband, with all his craft, could not keep himself 
out of purgatory. 

Sir God. And I more wondered that my chain should 
be gone, and my tailor had none of it. 

Mary. And I wondered most of all that I should be 
tied from marriage, having such a mind to't. Come, 
Sir John Pennydub, fair weather on our side : the 
moon has changed since yesternight. 

Pye. The sting of every evil is within me ! 

Noble. And that you may perceive I feign not with 
you, behold their fellow-actor in these forgeries, who, 
full of spleen and envy at their so sudden advance- 
ments, revealed all their plot in anger. 

[Skirmish comes forward. 

Pye. Base soldier, to reveal us ! 

Wid. Is't possible we should be blinded so, and out 
eyes open ? 

Noble. Widow, will you now believe that false, 
which too soon you believed true ? 

Wid. Oh, to my shame, I do. 

Sir God. But, under favor, my lord, my chain was 
truly lost, and strangely found again. 

Noble. Resolve him of that, soldier. 

Skir. In few words, knight, then, thou wert the 
arch-gull of all. 

Sir God. How, sir ? 

Skir. Nay, I'll prove it : for the chain was but hid 
in the rosemary-bank all this while, and thou got'st 
him out of prison to conjure for it, who did it admira- 
bly, fustianly : for indeed what needed any other, 
when he knew where it was ? 

Sir God. O, villany of villains ! but how came my 
chain there ? 


Skir. Where's Truly la, indeed la 1 — he that will 
not swear, but lie — he that will not steal, but rob — 
pare Nicholas Saint Antlings ? 

Sir God. O, villain ! one of our society — 
Deemed always holy, pure, religious: 
A puritan a thief ! when was't ever heard? 
Sooner we'll kill a man than steal, thou know'st. 
Out, slave ! I'll rend my lion from thy back 
With mine own hands. 

Nich. Dear master ! oh ! 

Noble. Nay, knight, dwell in patience. 
And now, widow, being so near the church, 'twere 
great pity, nay, uncharity, to send you home again 
without a husband : — 

Draw near, you of true worship, state, and credit, 
That should not stand so far off from a widow, 
And suffer forged shapes to come between you : 
Not that in these I blemish the true title 
Of a captain, or blot the fair margent of a scholar ; 
For I honor worthy and deserving parts in the one, 
And cherish fruitful virtues in the other. — 
Come, lady, and you, virgin, bestow your eyes and 
your purest affections upon men of estimation, both 
in court and city, that have long wooed you, and 
both with their hearts and wealth sincerely love you. 

Sir God. Good sister, do ; sweet little Franke, these 

i The exclamations of Nicholas. 

are men of reputation : you shall be welcome at court 
— a great credit for a citizen, sweet sister 

Noble. Come, her silence does consent to't. 

Wid. I know not with what face 

Noble. Poh ! poh ! with your own face : they de- 
sire no other. 

Wid. Pardon me, worthy sirs, I and my daughter, 
Have wronged your loves. 

Sir OH. 'Tis easily pardoned, lady, 

If you vouchsafe it now. 

Wid. With all my soul. 

Frances. And I. with all my heart. 

Mary. And I, Sir John, with soul, heart, lights, 
and all. 

Sir John. They are all mine, Moll. 

Noble. Now, lady, 
What honest spirit but will applaud your choice, 
And gladly furnish you with hand and voice ? — 
A happy change, which makes e'en heaven rejoice. 
Come, enter in your joys ; you shall not want 
For fathers now ; 1 doubt it not, believe me, 
But that you shall have hands enough to give me.* 


2 Some of the copies read, " give ye," but the original 
reading, which is here followed, seems more proper, and 
accords with the wants of the rhyme. The last section of 
the sentence is meant to suggest the applauses of the audi- 
ence. It is their " hands enough" which the speaker antici- 




" A Yorkshire Tragedy — not so new, as lamenta- 
ble and true : written by W. Shakspeare." This was 
the title of the original edition of the play which fol- 
lows, printed in 1608. Upon a subsequent titlepage, 
we have " All's One, or, One of the four Plaies in 
one, called a Yorkshire Tragedy." We may receive 
" All 's One" as the general title of four short plays, 
represented in the same day, and standing in the 
place of a regular tragedy or comedy. Of the four 
plays thus presented, it is to be remarked, that " The 
Yorkshire Tragedy" is the only one which appears 
to have been published. This was entered, on the 2d 
of May, 1608, on the stationers' registers, as " A 
booke The Yorkshire Tragedy, written by Wylliam 
Shakespere." The publisher of the play. Thomas 
Pavyer, in 1605, entered " A Ballad of lamentable 
Murther done in Yorkshire, by a Gent, upon two of 
his owne Children, sore wounding his Wyfe and 
Nurse." The fact upon which the ballad and the 
tragedy are founded, is thus related in Stow's Chron- 
icle, under the year 1604 : " Walter Calverly, of 

Calverly, Yorkshire, esquire, murdered two of his 
young children, stabbed his wife into the body, with 
full purpose to have murdered her, and instantly went 
from his house to have slain his youngest child, at 
nurse, but was prevented : for which fact, at his trial 
in York, he stood mute, and was judged to be pressed 
to death ; according to which judgment he was exe- 
cuted, at the castle of York, the 5th of August." 

" Concerning this play," says Mr. Malone, " I have 
not been able to form any decided opinion. The ar- 
guments produced by Mr. Steevens, in support of its 
authenticity, appear to me to have considerable 
weight. If its date were not so precisely ascertained, 
little doubt would remain, in my mind at least, upon 
the subject. I find it, however, difficult to believe 
that Shakspeare could have written Macbeth, King 
Lear, and the Yorkshire Tragedy, at nearly the same 
period." There would be more force in this objec- 
tion, could we be sure when these several plays of 
Shakspeare were written ; but most of the attempts 
to ascertain the dates of their original production 



have only tended to make the facts more doubtful. 
Besides, even were they productions of the same pe- 
riod, there would be nothing in the inequality of the 
pieces to urge against the argument, when we make 
the usual allowances for the inferiority of subject, and 
the differing mental moods, or different bodily condi- 
tion of the writer. This short play was evidently 
written for an emergency — to grasp a popular occa- 
sion, and make use of an event fresh in the public 
mind, by which it had been greatly possessed and 
excited. Very unlike Shakspeare, in every essential 
particular, it is yet possible that he wrote it, in night- 
gown and slippers, scene by scene, to meet the wants 
of the actors. The demands of a theatre, the hurried 
competition of rival houses, might readily prompt 
him to this drudgery, as an aside from his usual 
labors, at the very moment that he was most busy, 
on his most glorious achievement. I attach but little 
importance to the scruple of Mr. Malone. 

Dr. Farmer has something after the same fashion. 
"The Yorkshire Tragedy," saith he, "hath been 
frequently called Shakspeare's earliest attempt in the 
drama ; but, most certainly, it was not written by our 
poet at all. The fact on which it is built, was perpe- 
trated no sooner than 1605 — much too late for so 
mean a performance from the hand of Shakspeare." 

" I confess," says Mr. Steevens, in a very elaborate 
note, " I have always regarded this little drama as a 
genuine but a hasty production of our author." This 
opinion he sustains by a series of generalities, which 
most readers can readily conceive for themselves. 

A writer in the Retrospective Review, analyzing 
the Yorkshire Tragedy, says : " There is no reason 
why Shakspeare should not have written it, any more 
than why he should " To this Mr. Knight answers : 
" The reason why Shakspeare should not have writ- 
ten it is, we think, to be deduced from the circum- 
stance that he, who had never even written a comedy 
in which the scene is placed in his own country in his 
own times, would very unwillingly have gone out of 
his way to dramatize a real incident of horror, occur- 
ring in Yorkshire in 1604, which of necessity could 
only have been presented to the senses of an audience, 
as a fact admitting of very little elevation by a poet- 
ical treatment, which might seize upon their imagin- 
ations." We really see very little in this argument, 
which depends wholly on an assumption. Certainly, 
there is nothing in it to oppose to the suggestion of 
that policy, on the part of a manager, which would 
be apt to consult the tastes of his audience, rather 
than his own, and which, whatever might be his po- 
etical nature, would scarcely suffer this to interfere 
with his interests. Besides, Mr. Knight has not ta- 
ken all the facts into this connexion. Though the 
event took place in 1604, its freshness had been pre- 
served by ballads. These were popular, and the play 
is probably neither more nor less than the amplifica- 
tion of a ballad. 

The Retrospective Review further says : " If he 
[Shakspeare] had written it, on the principle of mere- 
ly dramatizing the known fact, he would not have 
done it much better than it is here done ; and there 
were many of his contemporaries who could have done 
it quite as well." — "We agree," says Mr. Knight, 
" with this assertion. If the Yorkshire Tragedy had 
been done better than it is — that is, if the power of 
the poet had more prevailed in it — it would not have 
answered the purpose for which it was intended ; it 
would, in truth, have been a mistake in art. Shak- 
speare would not have committed this mistake. But 
then, we doubt whether he would have consented at 
all to have had a circle drawn around him by the 
antipoetical, within which his mastery over the spir- 
its of the earth and of the air was unavailing." 

All this seems to us a mere waste of speculation. 
To say what Shakspeare would have done, as a poet, 
is one thing ; but Mr. Knight can hardly venture to 
say that, as a manager, largely interested in the suc- 
cess of his theatre, Shakspeare would have been so 
tenacious of his particular tastes as to have rejected 
a popular topic, solely because of its poverty and 
rudeness. This is surely exceedingly gratuitous. If 
Shakspeare wrote the piece at all, upon which I do not 
propose to decide, this alone would have been the 
motive. It certainly would not have been a favorite 
study of the artist. One fact is indisputable, howev- 
er : the play was entered in the stationers' books, 
and published by the press, with the name of William 
Shakspeare, at full length, in 1608; not only while 
Shakspeare was living, but while he was connected 
with the London theatres — and the publication re- 
mained, and still remains, without alteration or con- 

This is one of those facts which, it appears to me, 
no editor can possibly reject or set aside, by a refer- 
ence to the mere general inferiority of this piece to the 
other productions of the supposed author. The truth 
is, the nature of the subject rendered it unsusceptible 
of any high poetical embellishments, if only because 
it was one which did not, and could not, commend 
itself to the tastes and affections of the poet. As a 
domestic sketch, though one mainly of horror, it has 
yet considerable merit. The patience and gentleness 
of the wife are well contrasted with the insane bru- 
tality, and the passionate selfishness, of the husband ; 
and, in the selection and distribution of his material 
— the choice of the subject itself being kept from 
sight — the author shows equal good taste and dis- 
cretion. Mr. Knight is of opinion that it belongs to 
the numerous performances of Thomas Heywood, 
whom Charles Lamb has called " a sort of prose 
Shakspeare ;" and, if not Shakspeare's, it is most 
likely to have been Heywood's. Indeed, regarding 
the intrinsic evidence only, we should at once prefer 
the claims of Heywood to those of any of his con- 




Master of a college. 

A Knight fa Magistrate). 

Several Gentlemen. 

Oliver, \ 

Ralph, \ servants. 

Samuel, ) 

Other servants, officers, a little boy, fyc. 


Maid- Servant. 

SCENE I. — An old House in Yorkshire. Servants' 

Enter Oliver and Ralph. 

Oli. Sirrah Ralph, my young mistress is in such a 
pitiful passionate humor for the long absence of her 
love — 

Ralph. Why, can you blame her? Why, apples 
hanging longer on the tree than when they are ripe, 
makes so many fallings ; viz., mad wenches, because 
they are not gathered in time, are fain to drop of 
themselves, and then 'tis common, you know, for ev- 
ery man to take them up. 

Oli. Mass, thou say'st true, 'tis common indeed ! 
But, sirrah, is neither our young master returned, nor 
our fellow Sam come from London ? 

Ralph. Neither of either, as the puritan bawd says. 
'Slid, I hear Sam. Sam's come ; here he is ; tarry ; 
come, i'faith : now my nose itches for news. 

OIL And so does mine elbow. 

Sam. [within] . Where are you, there ? Boy, look 
you walk my horse with discretion. I have rid him 
simply i 1 I. warrant his skin sticks to his back with 
very heat. If he should catch cold and get the cough 
of the lungs, I were well served, were I not ? 

Enter Samuel. 

What, Ralph and Oliver ! 

Both. Honest fellow Sam, welcome, i'faith. What 
tricks hast thou brought from London ? 

Sam. You see I am hanged after the truest fashion : 
three hats, and two glasses bobbing upon them ; two 
rebato wires 2 upon my breast, a cap-case by my side, 
a brush at my back, an almanac in my pocket, and 

1 I am inclined to think that the proper word here is sin- 
fully, and not " simply," which would seem purposeless. 

2 '• Rehato" was the name of an ancient head-dress. The 
wires were used to distend the hair or lace. — Percy. 


three ballads in my codpiece. 3 Now am I 4 the true 
picture of a common servingman. 

Oli. I'll swear thou art ; thou may'st set up when 
thou wilt : there's many a one begins with less, I can 
tell thee, that proves a rich man ere he dies. But 
what's the news from London, Sam ? 

Ralph. Ay, that's well said ; what's the news from 
London, sirrah? My young mistress keeps such a 
puling for her love. 

Sam. Why, the more fool she ; ay, the more ninny- 
hammer she. 

Oli. Why, Sam, why? 

Sam. Why, he is married to another long ago. 

Both. I'faith ? You jest. 

Sam. Why, did you not know that till now? why, 
he's married, beats his wife, and has two or three 
children by her. For you must note, that a woman 
bears the more when she is beaten. 5 

Ralph. Ay, that's true, for she bears the blows. 

Oli. Sirrah Sam, I would not for two years' wages 
my young mistress knew so much ; she'd run upon the 
left hand of her wit, and ne'er be her own woman 

Sam. And I think she was blest in her cradle, that 
he never came in her bed. Why, he has consumed 
all, pawned his lands, and made his university brother 
stand in wax for him : 6 there's a fine phrase for a 
scrivener. Puh ! he owes more than his skin is 

OH. Is't possible ? 

Sam. Nay, I'll tell you, moreover, he calls his wife 
whore, as familiarly as one would call Moll and Doll ; 
and his children bastards, as naturally as can be. — 
But what have we here ? I thought 'twas something 
pulled down my breeches ; I quite forgot my two po- 
king-sticks : these came from London. Now, any- 
thing is good here that comes from London. 

Oli. Ay, far-fetched, you know, Sam. — But speak 
in your conscience, i'faith ; have not we as good po- 
king-sticks i'the country as need to be put in the fire? 

Sam. The mind of a thing is all ; the mind of a 
thing is all ; and as thou saidst even now, far-fetched 
are the best things for ladies. 

OK. Ay, and for waiting-gentlewomen too. 

Sam. But, Ralph, what, is our beer sour this thun- 

Ralph. No, no, it holds countenance yet. 

3 A protuberance in the breeches, sometimes used as a 
pincushion. An article of the same name, and used for a 
like purpose, was worn by women about the breast. 

•* Written elsewhere, " Nay, I am," &c. 

5 The old proverb has it, "A woman and a walnut-tree 
bear the better for being thrashed." 

6 Give bond — sign and seal for him. 



Sam. Why, then follow me ; I'll teach you the 
finest humor to be drunk in : I learned it at London 
last week. 

Both. I'faith ? Let's hear it, let's hear it. 

Sam. The bravest humor ! 'twould do a man good 
to be drunk in it : they call it knighting in London, 
when they drink upon their knees. 1 

Both. I'faith, that's excellent. 

Sam. Come, follow me ; I'll give you all the degrees 
of it in order. [Exeunt. 

SCENE II.— A Room in Calverly Hall. 

Enter Wife. 

Wife. What will become of us ? All will away : 
My husband never ceases in expense, 
Both to consume his credit and his house ; 
And 'tis set down by Heaven's just decree, 
That riot's child must needs be beggary. 
Are these the virtues that his youth did promise ? 
Dice and voluptuous meetings, midnight revels, 
Taking his bed with surfeits ; ill beseeming 
The ancient honor of his house and name? 
And this not all, but that which kills me most, 
When he recounts his losses and false fortunes, 
The weakness of his state so much dejected, 
Not as a man repentant, but half mad 
His fortunes can not answer his expense, 
He sits, and sullenly locks up his arms ; 
Forgetting heaven, looks downward ; which makes 
Appear so dreadful that he frights my heart : [him 
Walks heavily, as if his soul were earth ; 
Not penitent for those his sins are past, 
But vexed his money can not make them last : 
A fearful melancholy, ungodly sorrow ! 
0, yonder he comes ; now in despite of ills 
I'll speak to him, and I will hear him speak, 
And do my best to drive it from his heart. 

Enter Husband. 

Hus. Pox o' the last throw ! It made five hundred 
Vanish from my sight. I am damned, I'm damned ! 
The angels have forsook me. Nay, it is 
Certainly true ; for he that has no coin 
Is damned in this world ; he is gone, he's gone. 

Wife. Dear husband ! 

Hus. ! most punishment of all, I have a wife. 

Wife. I do entreat you, as you love your soul, 
Tell me the cause of this your discontent. 

Hus. A vengeance strip thee naked ! thou art the 
The effect., the quality, the property ; — [cause, 

Thou, thou, thou ! [Exit. 

Wife. Bad turned to worse ! A 2 beggary of the soul 
As of the body. And so much unlike 
Himself at first, as if some vexing 3 spirit 
Had got his form upon him. He comes again ! 

i As the person to be knighted always knelt to receive the 

2 The old folio reads, " both beggary of the soul as of the 
body." Subsequent editors, in amending the grammar of 
the sentence, have converted "as" into "and," and 
appears to me, though rendering the line grammatically cor- 
rect, have lessened something of the euphony and force of 
the sentence. "A beggary of the soul as of the body," seems 
to reconcile both objects. 

3 Previous editions have it " vexed." 

Re-enter Husband. 

He says I am the cause : I never yet 
Spoke less than words of duty and of love. 

Hus. If marriage be honorable, then cuckolds are 
honorable, for they can not be made without mar- 
riage. Fool ! what meant I to marry to get beggars ? 
Now must my eldest son be a knave or nothing ; he 
can not live upon the fool, for he will have no land to 
maintain him. That mortgage sits like a snaffle upon 
mine inheritance, and makes me chew upon iron. 
My second son must be a promoter, 4 and my third a 
thief, or an under-putter; r > a slave pander. Oh, beg- 
gary, beggary, to what base uses dost thou put a man .'0 
I think the devil scorns to be a bawd ; he bears him- 
self more proudly, has more care of his credit. — 
Base, slavish, abject, filthy poverty ! 

Wife. Good sir, by all our vows I do beseech you, 
Show me the true cause of your discontent. 

Hus. Money, money, money ; and thou must sup- 
ply me. 

Wife. Alas, I am the least cause of your discon- 
Yet what is mine, either in rings or jewels, [tent; 
Use to your own desire ; but I beseech you, 
As you 're a gentleman by many bloods, 
Though I myself be out of your respect, 
Think on the state of these three lovely boys 
You have been father to. 

Hus. Puh ! bastards, bastards, bastards ; begot in 
tricks, begot in tricks. 

Wife. Heaven knows how these words wrong me ; 
but I may 
Endure these griefs among a thousand more. 
0,call to mind your lands already mortgaged, 
Yourself wound into debts, your hopeful brother, 
At th' university, in bonds for you, 
Like to be seized upon ; and 

Hus. Have done, thou harlot, 
Whom, though for fashion-sake I married. 
I never could abide. Think'st thou, thy words 
Shall kill my pleasures ? Fall off to thy friends ; 
Thou and thy bastards beg ; I will not bate 
A whit in humor. Midnight, still I love you, 
And revel in your company ! Curbed in ? 
Shall it be said in all societies, 
That I broke custom ? that I flagged in money ? 
No, those thy jewels I will play as freely 
As when my state was fullest. 

Wife. Be it so. 

Hus. Nay, I protest — and take that for an ear- 
nest, — [Spurns her. 
I will for ever hold thee in contempt, 
And never touch the sheets that cover thee, 
But be divorced in bed, till thou consent 
Thy dowry shall be sold, to give new life 
Unto those pleasures which I most affect. 

Wife. Sir, do but turn a gentle eye upon me, 
And what the law shall give me leave to do, 
You shall command. 

Hus. Look it be done. Shall I want dust, 
And, like a slave, wear nothing in my pockets 

[Holds his hands in his pockets. 
But my bare hands, to fill them up with nails ? 
O much against my blood, let it be done ! 

4 Promoter— informer. 

6 Or putour — a leecher— a whoremonger. 

6 " To what base uses we may return, Horatio !" — Hamlet. 



I was never made to be a looker-on, 

A bawd to dice ; I'll shake the drabs myself, 

And make them yield. I say, look it be done. 

Wife. I take my leave : it shall. [Exit, 

Hits. Speedily, speedily. 

I hate the very hour I chose a wife : 
A trouble, trouble ! Three children, like three evils, 
Hang on me. Fie, fie, fie ! Strumpet and bastards ! 

Enter three Gentlemen. 

Strumpet and bastards ! 

1 Gent. Still do these loathsome thoughts jar on 

your tongue ! 
Yourself to stain the honor of your wife, 
Nobly descended ! Those whom men call mad, 
Endanger others ; but he's more than mad 
That wounds himself; whose own words do proclaim 
Scandals unjust, to soil his better name. 
It is not fit ; I pray [you, sir,] forsake it. 

2 Gent. Good sir, let modesty reprove you[r speech]. 

3 Gent. Let honest kindness sway so much with 

Hus. Good den ; I thank you, sir ; and how do you? 
Adieu ! I am glad to see you ! And farewell 
Instructions ! — admonitions ! [Exeunt Gentlemen. 

Enter a Servant. 

How now, sirrah ? What would you ? 

Serv. Only to certify you, sir, that my mistress was 
met by the way, by them who were sent for her up to 
London by her honorable uncle, your worship's late 

Hus. So, then she is gone, sir ; and so may you be ; 
But let her look the thing be done she wots of, 
Or hell will stand more pleasant than her home. 

[Exit Servant. 

Enter a Gentleman. 

Gent. Well or ill met, I care not. 

Hus. No, nor I. 

Gent. I am come with confidence to chide you. 

Hus. Who ? me ? 
Chide me ? Do't finely, then ; let it not move me : 
For if thou chidest me angry, I shall strike. 

Gent. Strike thine own follies, for 'tis they deserve 
To be well beaten. We are now in private ; 
There's none but thou and I. Thou art fond and 

peevish ; 
An unclean rioter ; thy lands and credit 
Lie now both sick of a consumption : 
I am sorry for thee. That man spends with shame, 
That with his riches doth consume his name ; 
And such art thou. 

Hus. Peace ! 

Gent. No, thou shalt hear me further. 

Thy father's and forefathers' worthy honors, 
Which were our country monuments, our grace, 
Follies in thee begin now to deface. 
The spring-time of thy youth did fairly promise 
Such a most fruitful summer to thy friends, 
It scarce can enter into men's beliefs 
Such dearth should hang upon thee. We that see it 
Are sorry to believe it. In thy change, 
This voice into all places will be hurled — 
Thou and the devil have deceived the world. 

Hus. I'll not endure thee. 

Gent. But, of all the worst, 

Thy virtuous wife, right honorably allied, 
Thou hast proclaimed a strumpet. 

Hus. Nay, then I know thee ; 

Thou art her champion, thou ; her private friend ; 
The party you wot on. 

Gent. O, ignoble thought ! 

I am past my patient blood. Shall I stand idle, 
And see my reputation touched to death ? 

Hus. It has galled you, this; has it? 

Gent. No, monster ; I will prove 

My thoughts did only tend to virtuous love. 

Hus. Love of her virtues ? there it goes. 

Gent. Base spirit, 

To lay thy hate upon the fruitful honor 
Of thine own bed. 

[They fight, and the Husband is hurt. 

Hus. Oh ! 

Gem. Wilt thou yield it yet ? 

Hus. Sir, sir, I have not done with you. 

Gent. I hope [not] nor ne'er shall be. 1 

f They fight again. 

Hus. Have you got tricks ? Are you in cunning 
with me P 

Gent. No, plain and right : 
He needs no cunning that for truth doth fight. 

[Husband falls down. 

Hus. Hard fortune .' am I levelled with the ground ? 

Gent. Now, sir, you lie at mercy. 

Hus. Ay, you slave. 

Gent. Alas, that hate should bring us to our grave ! 
You see, my sword's not thirsty for your life : 
I am sorrier for your wound than you yourself. 
You're of a virtuous house ; show virtuous deeds ; 
'Tis not your honor, 'tis your folly bleeds. 
Much good has been expected in your life ; 
Cancel not all men's hopes : you have a wife, 
Kind and obedient ; heap not wrongful shame 
On her and your posterity ; let only sin be sore, 
And by this fall, rise, never to fall more. — 
And so I leave you. [Exit. 

Hus. Has the dog left me, then, 

After his tooth has left 3 me ? O, my heart 
Would fain leap after him. Revenge, I say ; 
I'm mad to be revenged. My strumpet wife ! — 
It is thy quarrel that rips thus my flesh, 
And makes my breast spout 4 blood ; but thou shalt 

Vanquished ? got down ? unable even to speak ? 
Surely 'tis want of money makes men weak : 
Ay, 'twas that o'erthrew me : I'd ne'er been down 
else. [Exit. 

SCENE III. — Another Room, in the same. 

Enter Wife, in a riding-suit, and a Servant. 

Serv. 'Faith, mistress, if it might not be presump- 
In me to tell you so, for his excuse [tiou 

You had small reason, knowing his abuse. 

Wife. I grant I had [small reason] ; but, alas, 

1 In former copies the line runs thus ; — 

" 1 hope, nor ne'er shall do." 

2 " An I had thought him so valiant," &c, " so cunning in 
fence," &c— Twelfth Night. 

3 " Left" is not the word here— perhaps " ript." 
* Other copies read, " spit." 



Why should our faults at home be spread abroad ? 

'Tis grief enough within doors. At first sight, 

Mine uncle could run o'er his prodigal life. 

As perfectly, as if his serious eye 

Had numbered all his follies : [all he knew :] 

Knew of his mortgaged lands, his friends in bonds, 

Himself withered with debts ; and in that minute 

Had I his usage and unkindness added, 

'Twould have confounded every thought of good : 

Where now, his riots fathering on his youth, 

Which time and tame experience will shake off — 

Guessing his kindness to me (as I smoothed him 

With all the skill I had — though his deserts 

Are in form uglier than an unshaped bear), 

He's ready to prefer him to some office 

And place at court ; a good and sure relief 

To all his stooping fortunes. 'Twill be a means, 

I hope, to make a new league between us, and 

Redeem his virtues with his lands. 

Serv. I should think so, mistress. If he should not 
now be kind to you, and love you, and so raise 1 you 
up, I should think the devil himself kept open house 
in him. 

Wife. I doubt not but he will. Nowpr'ythee leave 
I think I hear him coming. [me : 

Serv. I am gone. [Exit. 

Wife. By this good means I shall preserve my 
And free my husband out of usurers' hands, [lands, 
Now there's no need of sale ; my uncle's kind : 
I hope, if aught, this will content his mind. 
Here comes my husband. 

Enter Husband. 

Hus. Now, are you come ? Where's the money ? 
Let's see the money. Is the rubbish sold ? those wise- 
acres, your lands ! Why, when ? The money ? — 
where is it ? Pour it down ; down with it, down with 
it : I say pour't on the ground ; let's see it, let's see 
it! — 

Wife. Good sir, 
Keep but in patience, and I hope my words 
Shall like you well. I bring you better comfort 
Than the sale of my dowry. 

Hus. Ha ! what's that ? 

Wife. Pray do not fright me, sir, but vouchsafe me 
hearing. My uncle, glad of your kindness to me and 
mild usage (for so I made it to him), hath, in pity 
of your declining fortunes, provided a place for you 
at court, of worth and credit ; which so much over- 
joyed me — 

Hus. Out on thee, filth ! 
Over and overjoyed, when I'm in torment ? 

[Spurns her. 
Thou politic whore, subtiler than nine devils ! 
Was this thy journey to nunck ? to set down the his- 
tory of me, of my state and fortunes ? Shall I, that 
dedicated myself to pleasure, be now confined in ser- 
vice ? to crouch and stand like an old man i'the hams, 
my hat off? I that could never abide to uncover my 
head i'the church ? Base slut ! this fruit bear thy 

Wife. O, Heaven knows 
That my complaints were praises and best words 
Of you and your estate. Only, my friends 
Knew of your mortgaged lands, and were possessed 

I " Cherish you up" in previous editions. 

Of every accident before I came. 
If you suspect it but a plot in me, 
To keep my dowry, or for mine own good, 
Or my poor children's (though it suits a mother 
To show a natural care in their reliefs), 
Yet I'll forget myself to calm your blood : 
Consume it, as your pleasure counsels you. 
And all I wish even clemency affords ; 
Give me but pleasant looks and modest words. 
Hus. Money, whore, money, or I'll — 

[Draws a dagger. 

Enter a Servant hastily. 

What the devil ! How now ? thy hasty news ? 

Serv. May it please you, sir 

Hus. What ! may I not look upon my dagger ? — 
Speak, villain, or I will execute the point on thee : 
quick, short ! 

Serv. Why, sir, a gentleman from the university 
stays below to speak with you. [Exit. 

Hus. From the university ? so ; university : — that 
long word runs through me. Exit. 

Wife. Was ever wife so wretchedly beset ? 
Had not this news stepped in between, the point 
Had offered violence unto my breast. 
That which some women call great misery 
Would show but little here ; would scarce be seen 
Among my miseries. I may compare, 
For wretched fortunes, with all wives that are. 
Nothing will please him, until all be nothing. 
He calls it slavery to be preferred ; 
A place of credit, a base servitude. 
What shall become of me, and my poor children, 
Two here, and one at nurse ? my pretty beggars ! 3 
I see how ruin with a palsying 3 hand 
Begins to shake the ancient seat to dust : 
The heavy weight of sorrow draws my lids 
Over my dankish 4 eyes : I scarce can see : 
Thus e;rief will last ; — it wakes and sleeps with me. 


SCENE IV. — Another Apartment in the same. 

Enter Husband and the Master of a College. 

Hus. Please you draw near, sir ; you're exceeding 

Mast. That's my doubt ! I fear I come not to be 

Hus. Yes, howsoever. 

Mast. 'Tis not my fashion, sir, to dwell in long cir- 
cumstance, but to be plain and effectual : therefore to 
the purpose. The cause of my setting forth was pit- 
eous and lamentable. That hopeful young gentle- 
man, your brother, whose virtues we all love dearly, 
through your default and unnatural negligence, lies in 
bond executed for your debt — a prisoner ; all his 
studies amazed, his hope struck dead, and the pride 
of his youth muffled in these dark clouds of oppres- 

Hus. Umph, umph, umph ! 

Mast. 0, you have killed the towardest hope of all 
our university : wherefore, without repentance and 

2 So, in the same spirit, Macduff speaks of " my pretty 
chickens," &c. 

3 " Palsy" in the old copies. 

4 Other copies read " darkish" as well as " dankish." The 
latter is the more appropriate word, but reads unpleasantly 
in the line. 



amends, expect ponderous and sudden judgments to 
fall grievously upon you. Your brother, a man who 
profited in his divine employments, and might have 
made ten thousand souls fit for heaven, is now, by 
your careless courses, cast into prison, which you 
must answer for ; and assure your spirit it will come 
home at length. 

Hits. God ! oh ! 

Mast. Wise men think ill of you ; others speak ill 
of you ; no man loves you ; nay, even those whom 
honesty condemns, condemn you. And take this 
from the virtuous affection I bear your brother: never 
look for prosperous hour, good thoughts, quiet sleep, 
contented walks, nor anything that makes man per- 
fect, till you redeem him. What is your answer? 
How will you bestow him ? Upon desperate misery, 
or better hopes? — I suffer till 1 hear your answer. 

Hus. Sir, you have much wrought with me ; I feel 
you in my soul : you are your art's master. I never 
had sense till now ; your syllables have cleft me. 
Both for your words and pains I thank you. I can 
not but acknowledge grievous wrongs done to my 
brother ; mighty, mighty, mighty, mighty wrongs. — 
Within, there ! 

Enter a Servant. 

Hus. Fill me a bowl of wine. [Exit Servant.] Alas ! 
poor brother, bruised with an execution for my sake ! 

Mast. A bruise indeed makes many a mortal sore, 
Till the grave cure them. 

Re-enter Servant with wine. 

Hus. Sir, I begin to you ; you've chid your wel- 

Mast. I could have wished it better for your sake. 
I pledge you, sir : To the kind man in prison. 

Hus. Let it be so. Now, sir, if you please to spend 
but a few minutes in a walk about my grounds below, 
my man here shall attend you. I doubt not but by 
that time to be furnished of a sufficient answer, and 
therein my brother fully satisfied. 

Mast. Good sir, in that the angels would be pleased, 
And the world's murmurs calmed ; and I should say, 
I set forth then upon a lucky day. 

[Exeunt Master and Servant. 

Hus. thou confused man ! Thy pleasant sins 
have undone thee ; thy damnation has beggared thee. 
That Heaven should say we must not sin, and yet 
made women ! give our senses way to find pleasure, 
which, being found, confounds us ! Why should we 
know those things so much misuse us ? 0, would 
virtue had been forbidden ! We should then have 
proved all virtuous ; for 'tis our blood to love what we 
are forbidden. Had not drunkenness been forbidden, 
what man would have been fool to a beast, and zany 
to a swine — to show tricks in the mire ? What is 
there in three dice, 1 to make a man draw thrice three 
thousand acres into the compass of a little round ta- 
ble, and with the gentleman's palsy in the hand shake 
out his posterity thieves or beggars? 'Tis done ; I 
have done't, i'faith : terrible, horrible misery ! — How 
well was I left ! Very well, very well. My lands 
showed like a full moon about me ; but now the 
moon's in the last quarter — waning, waning ; and I 

1 The game called passage, or pass-dice, was played with 
three dice. See note to " Sir John Oldcastle," page 104. 

am mad to think that moon was mine ; mine, and my 
father's, and my forefathers' ; generations, genera- 
tions. — Down goes the house of us ; down, down it 
sinks ! Now is the name a beggar ; begs in me. — 
That name which, hundreds of years, has made this 
shire famous, in me and my posterity runs out. In 
my seed five are made miserable besides myself: my 
riot is now my brother's gaoler, my wife's sighing, 
my three boys' penury, and mine own confusion. 
Why sit my hairs upon my cursed head ? 

[Tears his hair. 
Will not this poison scatter them? 0, my brother ! 
In execution among devils that 
Stretch him and make him give ;t and I in want, 
Not able to relieve 3 nor to redeem him .' 
Divines and dying men may talk of hell, 
But in my heart her several torments dwell : 
Slavery and misery ! Who, in this case, 
Would not take money up upon his soul ? 
Pawn his salvation, live at interest ? 
I, that did ever in abundance dwell, 
For me to want, exceeds the throes of hell. 

Enter a little Boy with a Top and Scourge. 

Son. What ails you, father ? Are you not well ? 
I can not scourge my top as long as you stand so. 
You take up all the room with your wide legs. Puh ■ 
you can not make me afraid with this ; I fear no viz- 
ards, nor bugbears. 

[He takes up the Child by the skirts of his 
long coat with one hand, and draws 
his dagger with the other. 
Hus. Up, sir, for here thou hast no inheritance left. 
Son. 0, what will you do, father? I am your white 
Hus. Thou shalt be my red boy ; take that. 

[Strikes him. 
Son. O, you hurt me, father. 
Hits. My eldest beggar, 
Thou shalt not live to ask a usurer bread ; 
To cry at a great man's gate ; or follow, 
" Good your honor," by a coach ; no, nor your 

brother : 
'Tis charity to brain you. 

Son. How shall I learn, now my head's broke ? 
Hus. Bleed, bleed, [Stabs him. 

Rather than beg. Be not thy name's disgrace : 
Spurn thou thy fortune's first ; if they be base, 
Come view thy second brother's. Fates .' My chil- 
dren's blood 
Shall spin into your faces ; you shall see, 
How confidently we scorn beggary ! 

[Exit with his Son. 


A Maid discovered with a Child in her arms ; the 
Mother on a couch by her, asleep. 

Maid. Sleep, sweet babe ; sorrow makes thy mother 
sleep : 
It bodes small good when heaviness falls so deep. 
Hush, pretty boy ; thy hopes might have been better. 
'Tis lost at dice, what ancient honor won : 
Hard, when the father plays away the son ! 

2 Steevens detects a pun in this passage. Leather, he re- 
minds xis, when stretched, is said " to give" — that is, yield 

3 " For to live" in other editions. 



Nothing but misery serves 1 in this house ; 
Ruin and Desolation. Oh ! 

Enter Husband, with his Son bleeding. 

Hus. Whore, give me that boy. 

[Strives with her for the Child. 

Maid. O, help, help ! Out, alas ! murther, murther ! 

Hus. Are you gossiping, you prating, sturdy quean ? 
I'll break your clamor with your neck. Down stairs ; 
Tumble, tumble, headlong. So : — 

[He throws her down and stabs the Child. 
The surest way to charm a woman's tongue, 
Is — break her neck : a politician did it. 2 

Son. Mother, mother ; I am killed, mother ! 

[Wife awakes. 

Wife. Ha, who's that cried ? O, me ! my children 

Both bloody, bloody ! [both ! 

[Catches up the youngest Child. 

Hus. Strumpet, let go the boy ; let go the beggar. 

Wife. 0, my sweet husband ! 

Hus. Filth, harlot .' 

Wife. O, what will you do, dear husband ? 

Hus. Give me the bastard ! 

Wife. Your own sweet boy — 

Hus. There are too many beggars. 

Wife. Good my husband — 

Hus. Dost thou prevent me still ? 

Wife. 0, God ! 

Hus. Have at his heart. 

[Stabs at the Child in her arms. 

Wife. 0, my dear boy ! 

Hus. Brat, thou shalt not live to shame thy house — 

Wife. Oh, Heaven ! [She is hurt, and sinks down. 

Hus. And perish ! — Now be gone : [one. 

There's whores enough, and want would make thee 

Enter a Servant. 

Serv. O, sir, what deeds are these ? 

Hus. Base slave, my vassal ! 
Com'st thou between my fury to question me ? 

Serv. Were you the devil, I would hold you, sir. 

Hus. Hold me ? Presumption ! I'll undo thee for it. 

Serv. 'Sblood ! you have undone us all, sir. 

Hus. Tug at thy master ? 

Serv. Tug at a monster. 

Hus. Have I no power ? Shall my slave fetter me ? 

Serv. Nay. then the devil wrestles : I am thrown. 

Hus. O, villain ! now I'll tug thee, now I'll tear 
thee ; 
Set quick spurs to my vassal ; 3 bruise him, trample 

So : I think thou wilt not follow me in haste. 
My horse stands ready saddled. Away, away ; 
Now to my brat at nurse, my sucking beggar : 
Fates, I'll not leave you one to trample on ! [Exeunt . 

SCENE VI.— Court before the House. 

Enter Husband ; to him the Master of the College. 
Mast. How is it with you, sir ? 
Methinks you look of a distracted color. 
Hus. Who, I, sir ? 'Tis but your fancy. 

1 Query : survives 1 

2 This is supposed to allude to the imputed murder of his 
wife by the earl of Leicester. 

3 He uses his spurs in the struggle. The rowel in that 
day was no bad substitute for the dagger. Their points 
were more than an inch long, sharp, and with broad blades. 

Please you walk in, sir, and I'll soon resolve you : 
I want one small part to make up the sum, 
And then my brother shall rest satisfied. 
Mast. I shall be glad to see it : sir, I'll attend you. 


SCENE VII. — A Room in the House. 
The Wife, Servant, and Children discovered. 
Serv. Oh, I 'm scarce able to heave up myself, 
He has so bruised me with his devilish weight, 
And torn my flesh with his blood-hasty spur : 
A man before of easy constitution, 
Till now hell power supplied, to his soul's wrong : 
O, how damnation can make weak men strong ! 

Enter the Master of the College and two Servants. 

Serv. 0, the most piteous deed, sir, since you came .' 

Mast. A deadly greeting .' Hath he summed up 
To satisfy his brother ? Here's another ; 
And by the bleeding infants, the dead mother. 

Wife. Oh ! oh ! 

Mast. Surgeons ! surgeons ! she recovers life : — 
One of his men all faint and bloodied .' 

1 Se?-v. Follow; our murtherous master has took 
To kill his child at nurse. O, follow quickly. 

Mast. I am the readiest ; it shall be my charge 
To raise the town upon him. 

1 Serv. Good sir. do follow him. 

[Exeunt Master and two Servants 

Wife. 0, my children .' 

1 Serv. How is it with my most afflicted mistress? 

Wife. Why do I now recover ? Why half live, 
To see my children bleed before mine eyes ? 
A sight able to kill a mother's breast, without 
An executioner. — What, art thou mangled too ? 

1 Serv. I, thinking to prevent what his quick mis- 
Had so soon acted, came and rushed upon him. 
We struggled ; but a fouler strength than his 
O'erthrew me with his arms: then did he bruise me, 
And rend my flesh, and rob'd me of my hair ; 
And like a man in execution mad, 
Made me unfit to rise and follow him. 

Wife. What is it has beguiled him of all grace, 
And stole away humanity from his breast ? 
To slay his children, purpose to kill his wife, 
And spoil his servants — 

Enter a Servant. 

Sei-v. Please you to leave this most accursed place : 
A surgeon waits within. 

Wife. Willing to leave it ? 
'Tis guilty of sweet blood, of innocent blood: 
Murder has took this chamber with full hands, 
And will ne'er out as long as the house stands. 


SCENE VIII.— A High Road. 
Enter Husband. He falls. 

Hus. 0, stumbling jade ! The spavin overtake thee ! 
The fifty diseases stop thee I 4 

■* There is an old book by Gervase Monkham, entitled. 
" The Fifty Diseases of a Horse." A similar speech occurs 
in Taming of the Shrew. 



Oh, I am sorely bruised ! Plague founder thee ! 
Thou runnest at ease and pleasure. Heart of chance ! 
To throw me now, within a flight o' the town, 
In such plain even ground too ! 'Sfoot ! a man 
May dice upon't, and throw away the meadows. 
Filthy beast .' 

[Cry within.] Follow, follow, follow. 

Hits. Ha .' I hear the sounds of men, like hue and 
Up, up, and struggle to thy horse ; make on ; [cry. 
Despatch that little beggar, and all's done. 

[Cry within.] Here, here ; this way, this way. 

Hus. At my back ? Oh, 
What fate have I ! my limbs deny me go. 
My will is baited ; beggary claims a part. 
O, could I here reach to the infant's heart .' 

Enter the Master of the College, three Gentlemen, and 
Attendants with Halberds. 

All. Here, here ; yonder, yonder ! 

Mast. Unnatural, flinty, more than barbarous ! 
The Scythians, even the marble-hearted Fates, 
Could not have acted more remorseless deeds, 
In their relentless natures, than these of thine. 
Was this the answer I long waited on ? 
The satisfaction for thy prisoned brother ? 

Hus. Why, he can have no more of us than our 
And some of them want but fleaing. [skins, 

1 Gent. Great sins have made him impudent. 
Mast. He has shed so much blood, that he can not 


2 Gent. Away with him, and bear him to the jus- 
A gentleman of worship dwells at hand : [tice. 
There shall his deeds be blazed. 

Hus. Why, all the better. 

My glory 'tis to have my action known ; 
I grieve for nothing, but I missed of one. 

Mast. There's little of a father in that grief: 
Bear him away. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IX. — A Room in the House of a Magistrate. 

Enter a Knight and three Gentlemen. 

Knight. Endangered so his wife? murdered his chil- 
dren ? 

1 Gent. So the cry goes. 

Knight. I am sorry I e'er knew him ; 

That ever he took life and natural being 
From such an honored stock, and fair descent, 
Till this black minute without stain or blemish. 

1 Gent. Here come the men. 

Enter Master of the College, fyc, uiith the Prisoner. 

Knight. The serpent of his house ! [Oh !] I am sor- 
For this time, that I am in place of justice. [ry, 

Mast. Please you, sir 

Knight. Do not repeat it twice ; I know too much : 
Would it had ne'er been thought on ! Sir, I bleed for 

1 Gent. Your father's sorrows are alive in me. 
What made you show such monstrous cruelty ? 

Hus. In a word, sir, I have consumed all, played 
away long-acre ; and I thought it the charitablest deed 
I could do, to cozen beggary, and knock my house o' 
the head. 

Knight. 0, in a cooler blood you will repent it. 

Hus. I repent now that one is left unkilled : 
My brat at nurse. I would full fain have weaned him. 

Knight. Well, I do not think, but in to-morrow's 
The terror will sit closer to your soul, [judgment, 
When the dread thought of death remembers you : 
To further which, take this sad voice from me, 
Never was act played more unnaturally. 

Hus. I thank you, sir. 

Knight. Go lead him to the gaol : 

Where justice claims all, there must pity fail. 

Hus. Come, come ; away with me. 

[Exeunt Husband, SfC. 

Mast. Sir, you deserve the worship of your place ; 
Would all did so ! In you the law is grace. 

Knight. It is my wish it should be so. — Ruinous 1 
The desolation of his house, the blot [man ! 

Upon his predecessors' honored name ! 
That man is nearest shame, that is past shame. 


SCENE X. — Before Calverly Hall. 

Enter Husband guarded, Master of the College, Gentle- 
men, and Attendants. 

Hus. I am right against my house — seat of my an- 
cestors : 
I hear my wife's alive, but much endangered. 
Let me entreat to speak with her, before 
The prison gripe me. 

His Wife is brought in. 

Gent. See, here she comes of herself. 

Wife. my sweet husband, my dear distressed 
Now in the hands of unrelenting laws, [husband, 
My greatest sorrow, my extremest bleeding ; 
Now my soul bleeds. 

Hus. How now ? Kind to me ? Did I not wound 
Left thee for dead ? [thee ? 

Wife. Tut, far, far greater wounds did my breast 
Unkindness strikes a deeper wound than steel. 
You have been still unkind to me. 

Hus. l'faith, and so I think I have. 
I did my murders roughly out of hand, 
Desperate and sudden ; but thou hast devised 
A fine way now to kill me : thou'st given mine eyes 
Seven wounds apiece. Now glides the devil from me, 
Departs at every joint ; heaves up my nails. 
catch him, torments that were ne'er invented ! 
Bind him one thousand more, 2 you blessed angels, 
In that pit bottomless ! Let him not rise 
To make men act unnatural tragedies ; 
To spread into a father, and in fury 
Make him his children's executioner ; 
Murder his wife, his servants, and who not ? — 
For that man's dark, where heaven is quite forgot. 

Wife. my repentant husband ! 

Hus. my dear soul, whom I too much have 
wronged ! 
For death I die, and for this have I longed. 

Wife. Thou shouldst not, be assured, for these 

If the law could forgive as soon as I. [faults die, 

[ The two Children laid out. 

Hus. What sight is yonder ? 

Wife. 0, our two bleeding boys, 

Laid forth upon the threshold. 

i I should prefer ravenous here. " Ruinous" is an epithet 
quite too feeble and inexpressive for such a case. 
2 Years, understood. 



Hits. Here's weight enough to make a heartstring 
0, were it lawful that your pretty souls [crack ! 

Might look from heaven into your father's eyes, 
Then should you see the penitent glasses melt, 
And both your murders shoot upon my cheeks ! 
But you are playing in the angels' laps, 
And will not look on me, who, void of grace, 
Killed you in beggary. 

that I might my wishes now attain, 

1 should then wish you living were again, 
Though I did beg with you, which thing I feared : 
O, 'twas the enemy my eyes so bleared ! 

0, would you could pray Heaven me forgive, 
That will unto my end repentant live ! 

Wife. It makes me e'en forget all other sorrows, 
And live apart with this. 

Offi. Come, will you go ? 

Hus. I'll kiss the blood I spilt, and then I'll go : 
My soul is bloodied, well may my lips be so ! 
Farewell, dear wife ; now thou and 1 must part : 

1, of thy wrongs repent me, with my heart. 
Wife. stay ; thou shalt not go ! 

Hus. That's but in vain ; you see it must be so. 
Farewell, ye bloody ashes of my boys ! 
My punishments are their eternal joys. 
Let every father look into my deeds, 
And then their heirs may prosper, while mine bleeds. 
[Exeunt Husband and Officers. 

Wife. More wretched am I now in this distress, 
Than former sorrows made me. 

Mast. kind wife, 

Be comforted ; one joy is yet unmurdered ; 
You have a boy at nurse : your joy's in him. 

Wife. Dearer than all is my poor husband's life. 
Heaven give my body strength, which yet is faint 
With much expense of blood ; and I will kneel, 
Sue for his life, number up all my friends 
To plead for pardon for my dear husband's life. 

Mast. Was it in man to wound so kind a creature ? 
I'll ever praise a woman for thy sake. 
I must return with grief ; my answer's set ; 
I shall bring news weighs heavier than the debt. 
Two brothers — one in bond lies overthrown — 
This on a deadlier execution. [Exeunt. 




The tragedy of " Locrine" was originally printed 
in quarto, under the following title : " The lamenta- 
ble Tragedie of Locrine, the Eldest Sonne of King 
Brutus, discoursing the Warres of the Britaines and 
Hunnes, with their Discomfiture. The Britaines' Vic- 
torie, with their Accidents, and the Death of Alba- 
nact. No less pleasant and profitable. Newly set 
foorth, ouerseene and corrected by W. S. London, 
printed by Thomas Creede, 1595." The play was en- 
tered on the books of the Stationers' Company on the 
20th of July, 1594. It was not included among the 
works of Shakspeare until seventy years after its first 
publication. There is no tradition which ascribes it 
to him. The publishers who classed it with his known 
writings, seem to have taken its authorship for grant- 
ed ; whether on the simple authority of the initials 
W. S., which accompanied its original publication, or 
on the strength of evidence which has not come down 
to us, can not now be ascertained. What value to 
attach to these initials is another difficult question ; 

and, if Shakspeare's, the further question is, in what 
degree he participated in the production of a piece, 
of which we are told only that it was " newly set 
foorth, ouerseene and corrected" by him. ( Mr. Stee- 
vens says : " Supposing for a moment that W. 
stood for our great poet's name (which is extremely 
improbable), these words prove that Shakspeare was 
not the writer of this performance. If it was only 
set forth, overseen, and corrected, it was not com- 
posed by him." This conclusion, however confident, 
Mr. Knight stops with a non sequitur. He shows an 
exact parallel to the title-page of " Locrine," in one 
of the generally-recognised plays of Shakspeare, viz. : 
" A pleasant, conceited Comedie, called Love's La- 
bour Lost. As it was presented before her Highness 
the last Christmas. Newly corrected and augmented 
by W. Shakspeare." But, though we show that in 
plays unquestionably from the hands of the great 
master, he was modestly set forth as the corrector 
and augmentor only, it does not follow necessarily 



that o«?-W. S. is William Shakspeare. About the time 
of the publication of this play of " Locrine," England 
was in possession of a certain William Stafford, who 
published political pamphlets bearing his initials only. 
Still, as Stafford's pamphlets were never imputed to 
Shakspeare, by any of the myriad admirers of the lat- 
ter, so it is equally certain that neither the friends nor 
the foes of Stafford ever laid " Locrine"' at his door. 
In 1596, however, one William Smith was living and 
writing, whose claims to its authorship might be 
urged more plausibly. He was the author of a collec- 
tion of sonnets ; and in 1600, a love-poem appeared in 
" England's Helicon," bearing the initials W. S. This 
also may have proceeded from the pen of William 
Smith. Another of the Smith family, about the same 
period, is known to have had a right to these initials, 
who is even known as a writer for the stage. This 
was Wentworth Smith, who, according to Mr. Knight, 
wrote many dramatic pieces "in conjunction with the 
best poets of that prolific period." We regret that 
Mr. Knight has not given us some specimens from 
the numerous dramas of this author, by which we 
could have formed some general idea with regard to 
his peculiar qualities. Our own collection of ancient 
British dramatic authors contains nothing which ena- 
bles us to form a judgment in relation to his claims to 
"Locrine." Mr. Collier, in his "Annals of the Stage," 
tells us only that he was the author of " The Italian 
Tragedy" and " Hector of Germany," and was con- 
cerned in the production of the '•' Six Yeomen of the 
West," with William Haughton, John Day, and Rich- 
ard Hathwaye ; none of them quite worthy to be dis- 
tinguished with the " best poets of that prolific pe- 
riod." Were any of the writings of Wentworth Smith 
extant, it would have been only proper, on the part 
of Mr. Knight, to have followed the suggestion of his 
name, in this connexion, with some specimens of his 
muse. It might then have been possible, by a com- 
parison of his verses with those of " Locrine," to 
determine in what degree the internal evidence was 
likely to sustain his initials in the claim to the au- 
thorship, not of " Locrine" only, but of " Titus An- 
dronicus," which not only equally suffers from like 
doubtful paternity, but the characteristics of which, to 
our notion, justify us in tracing it to the same sources 
with the former play. But of this, hereafter. 

Here, then, amid a great variety of conflicting 
claims, a nearly equal doubt hanging over all, the 
field of conjecture lies sufficiently open. The critics 
have partially availed themselves of its privileges. 
Tieck, the German, describes " Locrine" as the earli- 
est of Shakspeare's dramas. He suggests that the 
story has a political application — and was intended 
to shadow forth the nature and character of the com- 
motions which troubled the peace of England, in con- 
sequence of the sympathy accorded to Mary Stuart, 
then in the bonds of Elizabeth. He supposes it to 
have been written prior to the execution of the for- 
mer, and probably in order to the justification of that 
sharp judgment which led her to the block. But the 
English reader will smile at such an opinion. There 
is nothing of a modern complexion in " Locrine." The 
story is an old one. The author religiously follows 
the tradition — quite as slavishly, indeed, as it is pos- 
sible for a dramatic author to follow ; and, as for any 
effect which the sentiment of " Locrine" would have 
produced on the popular feeling or patriotism of the 

English, at the juncture alluded to, it will be only ne- 
cessary to advert to the prevailing passion of the 
piece, which is revenge, and which is made through- 
out to occupy almost exclusively the attention of the 
spectator — to show how little were the politics of 
the time in the contemplation of the writer. Doubt- 
less, a few lines, here and there, might have a pres- 
ent application, but these are evidently grafts on the 
original, rudely introduced, and probably by another 
hand than that of the author. Proof of this, indeed, 
occurs to us in a single instance, which probably led 
Tieck to his singularly foreign conjecture. The play, 
as we have seen, was entered on the books of the Sta- 
tioners' Company on the 20th July, 1594. But the 
piece concludes with certain lines which fix the date 
in the thirty-eighth year of Queen Elizabeth's reign, 
which began on the 17th of November, 1595, nearly 
eighteen months after : — 

" Lo here the end of lawless treachery, 
Of usurpation, and ambitious pride '. 
And they that for their private amours dare 
Turmoil our land, and set their broils abroach, 
Let them be warned by these premises. 
And as a woman was the only cause 
That civil discord was then stirred up, 
So let us pray for that renowned maid 
That eight- and-thirty years the sceptre swayed, 
In quiet peace and sweet felicity : 
And every wight that seeks her grace's smart, 
Would that this sword were pierced in his heart ."' 

This passage was evidently written after the entry 
at Stationers' Hall. It is probably the only passage 
in the play which has a direct political bearing on 
the events of the time. The allusion to Mary Stuart 
and her lovers is quite as obvious as that to Elizabeth. 
The speech is spoken by Ate, who acts as chorus 
throughout, and with this speech the play is conclu- 
ded. But, if the reader will look to the piece itself, 
he will find the appropriate conclusion in the language 
of Guendeline, and that probably which alone was 
made by the author. Indeed, the conclusion thus 
made is singularly appropriate, and in point of style 
is equally excellent and Shaksperian. The language 
is noble, to the purpose, and the verse perfectly unex- 
ceptionable. Let the reader compare the structure 
of this last speech with any of the favorite passages 
of" Titus Andronicus ;" compare it with the extrav- 
agance of most of the speeches of " Locrine" itself, 
to appreciate the evident improvement of the author 
under practice. 

The lines which we have quoted are evidently an 
excrescence on the original production. They are 
not needed to the conclusion, which they absolutely 
cumber and impair. We have no doubt that they were 
written long after the play itself, and were intended 
for a present occasion. When Mr. Knight asserts 
that " the piece, if acted at all, was presented in the 
latter part of the year of which the first edition (that 
of 1595) bears the date," we are doubtful of the 
sources of his conclusion. If these verses only, it 
will suffice to take for granted that the play was ce?-- 
tainly produced in the thirty-eighth year of Queen 
Elizabeth, possibly in the presence of the court ; but 
how frequently before, is not concluded by the graft 
above quoted, which seems rudely fastened upon the 
tail of the piece. Its matter, certainly, is not woven 
in with the web, as would have been the case were 



the conjectures of Tieck raised upon any just founda- 
tion. But nothing can be more idle than his theory. 
We could scarcely conceive of a piece, presented to 
an English audience, so thoroughly passionate — af- 
ter its own artificial style of passion — and so little 
given to passing politics, as this tragedy. " Locrine" 
was translated by Tieck into the German. He de- 
scribes the piece, tolerably justly, as " bearing the 
marks of a young poet unacquainted with the stage, 
who endeavors to sustain himself constantly in a pos- 
ture of elevation ; who purposely (?) neglects the 
necessary rising and sinking of tone and effect ; and 
who, with wonderful energy, endeavors, from begin- 
ning to end, to make his personages speak in the same 
highly-wrought and poetical language, while, at the 
same time, he shakes out all his school learning on ev- 
ery possible occasion." Commenting on this descrip- 
tion. Mr. Knight remarks : " It must be evident to all 
our readers that these characteristics are the very re- 
verse of Shakspeare." But this somewhat begs the 
question. The questions are, whether Shakspeare was 
not once a rude beginner — a boy — an apprentice in 
his art — whether his first steps were not like those 
of other boys, feeble and indiscreet — whether, differ- 
ing from all other great writers of whom we have any 
precise knowledge, he at once sprang to maturity at 
a bound, like the armed Minerva, even from his birth, 

— and was the mature master-mind, at the opening, 
which we find him at the crowning scenes of his 
drama ? If we are to be referred to his masterpieces, 
by which to determine all his performances, from the 
first feeble and rude beginnings of his career, when- 
ever the crudities of these imputed dramas are under 
consideration, there is an end of inquiry and argument. 
The question is, whether these inartificial character- 
istics of " Locrine" — the absence of proper discrim- 
ination in tone — the neglect of a nice use of the 
light and shadow — a disregard to the more delicate 
effects arising from the softening lints — the ambi- 
tious and unnatural elevation of the dialogue, and the 
outshaking of all the, school learning in possession of 
the writer, — whether these are not just as likely to 
have been the characteristics of the boy Shakspeare 
as of any other boy ? — and when these are found with 
a real presence of poetry — a copious flow of language 

— a rich and generous fancy — and a frequent and 
curious felicity in phrase — all of which appear in 
"Locrine," — whether, then, the initials W. S., and 
the tacit assumption by the earliest editors of Shak- 
speare's writings, do not justify us in the ascription of 
this performance to his inexperienced muse ? On this 
inquiry let us pass to other authorities. Schlegel says 
of " Locrine :" — " The proofs of the genuineness of 
this piece are not altogether unambiguous; — the 
grounds for doubt, on the other hand, are entitled to 
attention. However, this question is immediately 
connected with that respecting ' Titus Andronicus,' 
and must be, at the same time, resolved in the affirm- 
ative or negative." 

Mr. Knight dissents entirely from this opinion ; 
and, with all deference, we beg to dissent from him. 
He thinks the differences are as strikingly marked 
between " Locrine'' and " Titus Andronicus,'' " as 
between ' Titus Andronicus' and ' Othello ;' " a most 
monstrous heresy, in which, we suspect, Mr. Knight 
will find few readers of Shakspeare to concur. He 
objects to " Locrine" as a work of Shakspeare, chiefly 

on these grounds ; namely : because the characters in 
" Locrine" speak rather out of books, than because 
of their passions ; because of the large amount of clas- 
sical and mythological imagery which Locrine em- 
ploys ; the pedantry of the author ; his frequent repe- 
tition of phrases, in order to be rhetorical and forci- 
ble ; and other like platitudes, which need no more 
particular designation. These objections are illustra- 
ted by numerous examples, and by such a studious ex- 
aggeration of the merits of " Titus Andronicus," and 
such an equally studied depreciation of the contrasted 
piece, that we are constrained to feel that the critic's 
ingenuity is rather too much at the expense of his in- 
genuousness, to suffer us to let the case go to judg- 
ment upon his showing only. While it will not be 
difficult to concur with Mr. Knight in much of his 
criticism, the points which are most essential to this 
question are the very ones which he seems to have 
considered in the spirit of a partisan. " Locrine," as 
a work of art, is a very crude performance. It must 
be considered the work, not of an artist, but an ap- 
prentice. The story is put together clumsily: the 
characters are not discriminated, and the attempts at 
the humorous are wretched in the last degree. As 
little may be said for the tastes and the proprieties 
of the piece which offend us as in '•' Titus Androni- 
cus." Mr. Knight doubts if it is by a young person 
at all ; but the very inequalities which exist in the 
production — the superiority of the versification — its 
frequent power and beauty, so singularly in contrast 
with the crude judgment of the writer, in all that re- 
lates to design and character, — seem to be conclu- 
sive that the author was a young beginner, fresh from 
his classical studies, who had scarcely yet begun to 
think for himself, and whose chief employment hith- 
erto had been that naturally of all young poets — the 
acquisition of the arts of utterance — an acquisition 
which must inevitably precede the knowledge of char- 
acter, and the philosophy which discriminates it hap- 
pily, under the lead of experience. Such a writer will 
naturally elevate his school classics into undue place 
and inappropriate importance in connexion with la- 
bors, which, if not wholly, are in great measure for- 
eign to his objects. We do not discover the vast dis- 
similarity which Mr. Knight perceives between " Lo- 
crine" and " Titus Andronicus." The latter is un- 
doubtedly the better play. It is more decidedly a 
work of art. It is a great improvement, in this re- 
spect, upon " Locrine ;" but, if the two plays be by 
the same hand, then was " Locrine" necessary, as a 
preparatory exercise to " Titus Andronicus." The 
latter has all the advantage in propriety and power. 
Its characterization is more perfect ; its development 
of plan and purpose more unique and classical : and its 
variety of action, and its regard to cadence in the 
utterances, under various situations, of the persons 
of the drama, afford proofs of a large advance by the 
author of the one over the writer of the other produc- 
tion. But the faults of the two pieces are precisely 
of the same description : consisting, in excess, of 
bloody and brutal moods ; an untamed and unmeas- 
ured ferocity ; a tedious sameness of tone, unsparing 
resentments, and horrible purposes, which are left to- 
tally unrelieved by the redeeming interposition of 
softer fancies — of pity, or hope, or even love. In 
point of style and expression, the resemblance of 
faults between the two is even more decided, and the 



objections here, which Mr. Knight makes to " Lo- 
crine," will especially apply to the other piece. In 
both we have the same frequent repetition of phrase, 
either to intensify the sound by reiteration, or to 
patch out an imperfect line — the same free use of 
heathen mythology — and the same frequent employ- 
ment of fragmentary lines of Latin, eitherincorporated 
with, or closing the paragraph. The structure of the 
verse of '' Titus Andronicus" is singularly like that 
of " Locrine." They are both full and sounding, and 
ample always to overflow in the rhythm. The sense 
is usually clear and transparent, and the energy of 
the lines is quite remarkable, showing a strength and 
resource in the author, in one of the first essentials of 
his art, infinitely in advance of those acquisitions of 
knowledge and thought which can only result from 
constant attrition and frequent experience with the 
world of man. This goes to prove the immature 
years of the author. The inequalities which he ex- 
hibits are precisely such as mark the productions of 
all youthful poets of genius, showing a more perfect 
mastery over versification than thought — showing 
the utterance more malleable than the idea. 

Our convictions are that " Locrine" and " Titus 
Andronicus" are from the same hand. No matter by 
whom, the former was the first written. With all its 
crudities, excesses, and absurdities, " Locrine" seems 
to us to be the legitimate sire of the other and the bet- 
ter play. We believe them both to be Shakspeare's, 
and that " Locrine" was probably his very first at- 
tempt in the tragic drama, when he may have been 
fifteen or sixteen years old. About the same time, 
he may have attempted the comic muse — may have 
written "The London Prodigal," <; The Widow of 
Watling Street," and other of those puny perform- 
ances, in which we see nothing but the feeble, first 
beginnings of one in his accidence. It is true that — 
mere versification alone excepted — " Locrine" ex- 
hibits few or none of those higher and finer traits of 
genius which prove or promise the master. It is the 
" 'prentice han' " alone that it betrays. But the boy, 
even when a genius, always begins to write after a 
copy. He must and does usually write from books. 
His first years are simply years of training, in which 
he learns little more than the use of his tools. Rhyme 
and the facilities of speech are the chief objects of 
attainment at this period ; are all that he aims at, 
and all that he acquires — that insensible growth of 
the thought alone excepted, which seldom startles by 
a too sudden exhibition. In his early practice at the 
arts of utterance, he simply repeats the sentiments 
and remoulds the forms set and prescribed by other 
hands, precisely as the schoolboy, in writing, copies 
after engraved copies. It is only when he becomes 
a sufficient master of versification, that he can pos- 
sibly look into the stores of his own thought, and 
shape into proper language the more original idea. 
It is only when his tongue becomes sufficiently freed, 
that he begins to speak from his own experience and 
heart. This is a common history. Who predicates, 
ordinarily, of the first exercises of the boy-poet, the 
heights of fame which his future wing will reach ? 

But " Locrine," though unworthy of the master 
Shakspeare — though decidedly inferior to " Titus An- 
dronicus," which it most resembles — though gross- 
ly deformed by an under-current of vulgarity intend- 
ed for humor, and which affords us no glimpses what- 

ever of that ripe excellence to which we owe Sir John 
Falstaff and the appropriate circle which revolve 
around that great centre of wit and merriment — is 
yet not without certain merits of poetry which we 
should not overlook. It possesses some characteris- 
tics which remind us of Shakspeare, however faintly. 
We find these in the usually abrupt manner in which 
the persons of the drama enter upon the business of 
the scene ; in the noble comparisons and figures which 
suggest themselves, as if without effort or premedi- 
tation, to the speaker ; in the presence of an overflow- 
ing and exuberant imagination ; in the occasional reflec- 
tion which the contemplative mood acknowledges, 
even in the moment of action and performance ; and 
in that genius which frequently snatches its grace be- 
yond the reach of art, in the felicitous expression, the 
happy phrase, the bold figure, the delicate and unique 
fancy. Mr. Knight, in his hostility to this play, has 
been pleased to quote largely of those passages which 
betray the feeble hand and the crude and unenlight- 
ened taste. Many of his instances of repetition in 
phrase, which he assumes to have been deliberate re- 
sults of judgment, are really only the makeshifts with 
which the inexperienced framer of blank verse patched 
out his halting heroics. Others are examples of bad 
taste and prurient metaphor. Some of these exam- 
ples are chiefly reprehensible as they are detached by 
the critic from their appropriate connexion, and hud- 
dled, by him, into association with other similarly- 
conceived passages — the whole, together, forming a 
formidable array, which would scarcely prove so of- 
fensive, if not thus obtruded, in masses, upon the 
reader. As Mr. Knight has not scrupled to select the 
objectionable specimens, it will not be denied us the 
privilege of detaching a few more favorable samples 
from the same source, which, to us, indicate resources 
of fancy and power such as might well, under good 
training, ripen into excellence. We need not discrim- 
inate the passages we select, or specially designate in 
what their merit consists. We leave that to the read- 
er. Some are given as specimens of a versification 
equally bold, sweet, and transparent — are samples 
of a dawning and vigorous fancy ; others, again, com- 
mend themselves by the dignity and grace of the 
style and manner ; and others, yet again, for that 
prompt entrance upon the action, with the energy of 
a thought already prepared for all its interests, which 
so remarkably distinguishes the more earnest portions 
of Shakspeare's writings. We proceed to our exam- 

Brutus is about to die, exhausted by age. He 
speaks : — 

"These never-daunted arms, 

That oft have quelled the courage of my foes, 
Now yield to death, o'erlaid with crooked age, 
Devoid of strength and of their proper force ; 
Even as the lusty cedar, worn viith years, 
That far abroad her dainty odor throws, 
'Mongst all the daughters of proud Lebanon." 

Estrild, the spouse of Humber, is ravished with the 
natural beauties of Albion : — 

" The airy hills enclosed with shady groves, 
The groves replenished with sweet-chirping birds, 
The birds resounding heavenly melody — 
Are equal to the groves of Thessaly ; 
Where Ph&bus, with the learned ladies nine, 
Delight themselves with music's harmony, 



And, from the moisture of the mountain-tops 

The silent springs dance down with murmuring streams, 

And water all the ground with crystal waves. 

The gentle blasts of Eurus' modest wind, 

Moving the pattering leaves of Sylvan's woods, 

Do equal it with Tempe's paradise ; 

And thus consorted all to one effect, 

Do make me think these are the happy isles, 

Most fortunate, if Humber may them win." 

Humber, the invader, declares the sources of his hope 
in conquering the Trojans : — 

" Where resolution leads the way, 

And courage follows with emboldened face, 
Fortune can never use her tyranny ! — 
For valiantness is like unto a rock 
That standeth on the waves of ocean, 
Which, though the billows beat," &c. 

Albanact is reported as approaching with a powerful 
army. Humber replies with promising — 

" Entertainment good enough, — 

Yea, fit for those that are our enemies, 

For we'll receive them at the lance's point," &C. 

Hubba, the son of the invader, betrays a tone and 
spirit that remind us of Harry Hotspur, and the 
prince, his emulous rival. When told of Albanact's 
approach — 

" When as the morning shows his cheerful face, 
And Lucifer, mounted upon his steed. 
Brings in the chariot of the golden sun, 
I'll meet young Albanact in open field, 
A nd crack my lance upon his hurgonet." 

Humber says : — 

" Spoke like a warlike knight," &c. 

" Therefore, to-morrow, ere fair Titan shine, 
And bashful Eos, messenger of light, 
Expels the liquid sleep from out men's eyes, 
Thou shall," &c. 

The two preceding passages which we have italicized 
are not only beautiful in phrase, but seem to us to 
be full of the Shaksperian transparency and fancy. — 
A captain, about to impress a cobbler for the wars, 
finds him merrily singing at his board. The manner 
of the speech which he utters, pausing in the action 
to indulge in the reflection which the scene provokes, 
is also eminently that of Shakspeare : — 

" The poorest state is fartheet from annoy ! — 
How merrily he sitteth," &c. 

Here follows just such a picture as Shakspeare fre- 
quently draws — in which, in the progress of the ordi- 
nary narrative, the speaker elevates into poetry his 
statements of the fact, by a graphic delineation of 
what is conspicuous in his group : — 

" After we passed the groves of Caledon, 
We did behold the straggling Scythians' camp, 
Replete with men, stored with munition. 
There might we see the valiant-minded knights 
Fetching careers along the spacious plains ;- 
Humber and Hubba, armed in azure blue, 
Mounted upon their coursers white as snow." 

How well, simply, and becomingly, is the following 
order given ! — 

" Hubba, go take a cornet of our horse, 
As many lancers, and light-armed knights, 
As may suffice for such an enterprise, 
And place them in the grove of Caledon ; 

With these, when as the skirmish doth increase, 
Retire thou from the shelter of the wood, 
And set upon the weakened Trojans' backs ; — 
For policy, [when] joined with chivalry, 
Can never be put back from victory." 

These speeches are wholly free from stiltishness, 
which is the besetting infirmity of the author of " Lo- 
crine" — his wild, unpruned taste and excess of ardor 
usually spoiling his best passages. But such exag- 
gerations ordinarily deform the writings of all young 
authors, particularly when the fancy is abundant. The 
openings of many of the speeches in " Locrine" fre- 
quently remind us of the manner of Shakspeare, and 
the manner is one of the most important matters in 
such a discussion. His hero enters upon the scene con- 
scious fully of his situation, its exigencies, and what 
is due to his own character ; and his speech usually 
begins generously and nobly. Thus Hubba, after a 
severe fight with Albanact, enters, exclaiming — 

" How bravely this young Briton, Albanact, 
Darteth abroad the thunderbolts of war," &c. 

Thus, for a few lines, what is spoken is at once for- 
cible, appropriate, and excellently given ; but soon 
the speaker, in the very affluence of the poet, begins 
to multiply his images, to pile figure upon figure, and, 
without enlarging or advancing the idea, to cumber it 
with unnecessary phrases. We see, from the begin- 
ning of the speech, that the author knows what 
should be said in the place, but not how much, or in 
exactly what language. These are matters that ex- 
perience alone can teach. — Albanact appears, fatally 
hurt. Here, again, is a felicitous beginning of his 
speech — at once opening upon the obvious point of 
the subject, and in appropriate language : -— 

" Injurious Fortune, hast thou crossed me thus ? — 
Thus, in the morning of my victories — 
Thus, in the prime of my felicity, 
To cut me off by such hard overthrow ! 
Hadst thou no rime thy rancor to declare, 
But in the spring of all my dignities 1" 

So far, the speech reads well. But what follows is 
mere raving, the result of abundant fancy in the au- 
thor, as yet ungoverned by judgment and unrestrained 
by taste. It is in his very abundance that he wastes 
and impairs his possessions. — Corineius rebukes the 
idle sorrow that weeps for Albanact, without seeking 
to revenge him : — 

" In vain you sorrow," &c. 

" He loves not most that doth lament the most, 

But he that seeks t'avenge the injury. 

Think you to quell the enemy's warlike train 

With childish sobs and womanish laments 1 

Unsheath your swords," &c. 

Examples of the fancy, rising from and adorning the 
subject, are frequent, even in the crudest passages. 
Here, speaking of the resources of his province, Cam- 
ber describes — 

" the fields of martial Cambria, 

Close by the boisterous Fscan's silver streams, 
Where lightfoot fairies skip from bank to bank, 
Full," &c. 

The speech of Humber at the opening of Scene 3 in 
Act FV., full of bombast as it is, reminds us, in one of 
its figures, of the famous passage in "Macbeth," 



where the bloody hands of the murderer promise to 
incarnardine the sea — 

" Making the green one red." 

A moment after, in a figure of vision, he sees the ap- 
proaching conflict, and falsely predicts his own suc- 
cesses : — 

" Methinks I see both armies in the field ! — 
The broken lances climb the crystal skies : 
Some headless lie ; some breathless on the ground, 
And every place is strewed with carcasses ! 
Behold, the grass hath lost his pleasant green " &c. 

The soliloquy of Hubba wijl not fail, in its felicity of 
comparison, its sweetness and force of language, and 
the peculiarity of some of its lines, which we have 
italicized, to remind the reader very sensibly of Shak- 
speare : — 

" Let come what will, I mean to bear it out, 
And either live with glorious victory, 
Or die with fame renowned for chivalry ! 
He is not worthy of the honeycomb, 
Tliat shuns the hive because the bee hath stings ! 
That likes me best that is not got with ease, 
Which thousand dangers do accompany : 
For nothing can dismay our regal mind, 
Which aims at nothing but a golden crown." 

Beaten, a fugitive, and dying of famine, Humber says : 

" Thou great commander of the starry sky, 
That guid'st the life of every mortal wight, 
From the enclosures of the fleeting clouds 
Rain down some food." 

There is a beauty in the following passage which, it 
is highly probable, did not escape the sight of Mil- 
ton, who seems to have read this play with attention. 
— Locrine describes the secret spot where he has 
concealed Estrild : — 

" Nigh Deucolitum, by the pleasant Lee, 
Where brackish Thamis slides with silver streams, 
Making a breach into the grassy downs, 
A curious arch of costly marble wrought 
Hath Locrine framed underneath the ground ; 
The walls whereof, garnish gd'With diamonds, 
With opals, rubies, glistering emeralds, 
And interlaced with sunbright carbuncles, 
Lighten the room with artificial day : 
And from the Lee, with water-flowing pipes 
The moisture is derived into this arch, 
Where I have placed fair Estrild secretly. 
Thither eftsoons, accompanied by my page, 
I visit covertly my heart's desire, 
Without suspicion of the meanest eye, 
For love aboundeth still with policy." 

Of this passage Mr. Knight remarks. — we need not 
say how unjustly — that it is the only example in the 
play approaching to something like natural and ap- 
propriate language. We could show many quite as 
appropriate and natural, and more noble. We pro- 
ceed with our illustrations. — Humber, describing the 
terrible state in which he has lived as a fugitive, says 
forcibly : — 

" Caves were my beds, and stones my pillow-biers, 
Fear was my sleep, and horror was my dream." 

Locrine, reproached with his lusts by Thrasymachus, 
is told — 

"If princes stain their glorious dignity 
With ugly spots of monstrous infamy, 

They lose their former estimation, 

And throw themselves into a hell of hate." 

Guendeline's lament, though obscure and disfigured 
by instances of unformed and unlicensed taste, is not 
without its appropriate beauties : — 

" Ye gentle winds, that, with your modest blasts. 
Pass through the circuit of the heavenly vault, 
Enter the clouds unto the throne of Jove, 
And bear my prayer to his all-hearing ears ! — 
For Locrine hath forsaken Guendeline, 
And learned to love proud Humber's concubine. 
Ye happy sprites that, in the concave sky, 
With pleasant joy, enjoy your sweetest love, 
Shed forth those tears with me, which then you shed, 
When first you wooed your ladies to your wills '. — 
Those tears are fittest for my woful case, 
Since Locrine shuns my nothing-pleasant face." 

The homeliness of the figure, in the hands of this au- 
thor, as in those of Shakspeare, not unfrequently illus- 
trates successfully the most elevated topic ; thus : — 

" Alas 1 my lord, the horse will run amain, 
When as the spur doth gall him to the bone : 
Jealousy, Locrine, hath a wicked sting." 

Events in the natural world are made to shadow forth 
happily the crises in the affairs of man : — 

" Behold, the circuit of the azure sky 
Throws forth sad throbs, and grievously suspires, 
Prejudicating Locrine's overthrow !" 

Here follow several fragments remarkable for the 
freshness and felicity of phrase, warmth of fancy, 
and occHsional stern force of the figure they exhibit. 
We may add, that, considered through the proper 
medium, they do not unfrequently or doubtfully de- 
note that riper genius by which their crude virtues 
might have been rendered perfect. Detailing the evil 
omens that accumulate at the prospect of civil war, 
the ghost of Corineius tells us, among other things, 

" The wat'ry ladies, and the lightfoot fawns, 

And all the rabble of the ivoody nymphs, 

Trembling, all hide themselves," &c. 

Parting with Estrild, after his overthrow, and when 
about to commit suicide, Locrine speaks of her as — 

" Beauty's paragon, 

Framed in the front of forlorn miseries." 

Estrild, preparing to die also, says of the world : — 

" What else are all things that this globe contains, 
But a confused chaos of mishaps 1 
Wherein, as in a glass, we plainly see 
That all our life is but a tragedy." 

Thrasymachus, when he discovers the bodies of the 
two, exclaims — 

" Nor doth thy husband, lovely Guendeline, 
That wonted was to guide our starless steps, 
Enjoy this light : see where he murdered lies I 
And by him lies his lovely paramour, 
Fair Estrild, gored with a dismal sword — 
And, as it seems, both murdered by themselves, 
Clasping each other in their feebled arms, 
With loving zeal — as if, for [qu. : in ?] company, 
Their uncontented corses [ghosts?] were content 
To pass foul Styx." 

Without altering much of this matter, or adding 
much to its idea, the mature Shakspeare — the genius 



grown — would have made it equally chaste, appro- 
priate, and beautiful. — Sabren apostrophizes the — 

" Dryades and lightfoot Satyri — 

The gracious fairies, who, at eventide, 

Their closets leave, with heavenly beauty stored, 

And on their shoulders spread their golden locks," <fcc. 

She says, again, failing to commit suicide : — 

" Her virgin hand too weak to penetrate 
The bulwark of her breast" — 

and, apostrophizing Death — 

" Hard-hearted Death, that, when the wretched call, 
Art farthest oft', and seldom hear'st at all ; 
But, in the midst of Fortune's good success, 
Uncalled cornea and shears our life in twain I" — 

we are reminded of Milton, who seems clearly to 
have imitated the passage, while improving it : — 

" But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, 
And think to burst out into sudden blaze, 
Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, 
And slits the thin-spun life." 

Let the reader look to the passage in the second 
scene of Act III., where Thrasymachus reports the de- 
feat and death of Albanact, and observe how few and 
insignificant would be the alterations which are neces- 
sary to make this simple statement of facts a noble 
and poetical narrative of Shakspeare. Let him turn 
again to the opening speech of Humber, in the com- 
mencement of the second act, and note the lines of 
frequent beauty, and the figures at once noble and 
appropriate, which are found amid numerous crudi- 
ties. How happily is courage counselled to perseve- 
rance by the comparison of the snail, who, feeble and 
crawling slowly, at length ascends the loftiest heights, 
scaling the walls of the stateliest castle ! — and the 
proud boast of the Scythian emperor, that he — 

" Leads Fortune tied [up] in a chain of gold, 
Constraining her to yield unto his will. 
And grace him with her regal diadem." 

Even in the ludicrous portions of the piece, those 
which are mistakenly designed for the humorous, we 
discern glimpses of a conception, that, with a full 
development of the powers of expression on the part 
of the author, might have been reasonably expected 
to arrive at a birth equally legitimate and excellent. 
Thus, in the battle-scene where Albanact is beaten 
and slain, Strumbo, who is the buffoon of the piece, 
feigns death on the field, as Falstaff" does in a like 
situation, in order to escape danger ; and is lamented 
by his apprentice in a characteristic howl, which 
rouses the counterfeit as effectually as does the prom- 
ise of Hal to have the fat knight disembowelled rouse 
Falstaff*. In the latter instance the conception finds 
appropriate development, — the importance of the 
character concerned being duly raised, so as to in- 
terest us, even in his cowardice; — an advantage 
which Strumbo does not possess — to say nothing of 
that happy employment of language — playful, adroit, 
accomplished — in Falstaff", which could only have 
been acquired by long practice, and the experience 
of maturest years. 

We give, in a cluster, several examples of that bold 
and somewhat abrupt, but truly dramatic manner of 
opening speech and scene, in which this play abounds, 
and which distinguishes the manner of Shakspeare : 

" What ! is the tiger started from his cave 1" 
Again : — 

" What basilisk hath hatched in this place ?" 
Again : — 

" Was ever land so fruitless as this land ?" 

Again : — 

" Thus, from the fury of Bellona's broils, 
With sound of drum and trumpet's melody 
The Britain king returns triumphantly." 

The maturer writer would have said : — 

" The British king triumphantly returns." 

Again : — 

" Now am I guarded with a host of men, 
Whose haughty courage is invincible !" 

Again : — 

" Thus are we come, victorious conquerors, 
Unto the flowing current's silver streams, 
Which, in memorial of our victory, 
Shall be," &c. 

We finish our examples with the speech of Guende- 
line already referred to, and which is the proper con- 
clusion of the drama. We have indicated this speech 
as an instance of transparent, dignified verse, highly 
appropriate to the party and the occasion, and as de- 
cidedly in Shakspeare's manner. At all events, it will 
not be difficult to find the strong parallelism which 
exists, in tone, manner, and general sentiment, be- 
tween it and the closing speech in " Titus Audroni- 
cus.' ; We place the two in opposition, that the read- 
er may more readily judge for himself of the propriety 
of these comparisons between things acknowledged, 
as wholes, to be unequal : — 

Guendeline. One mischief follows on another's neck I 
Who would have thought so young a maid as she, 
With such a courage would have sought her death 1 
And — for because this river was the place 
Where little Sabren resolutely died — 
Sabren, for ever, shall this same be called. 
And, as for Locrine, our deceased spouse, 
Because he was the son of mighty Brute, 
To whom we owe our country, lives, and goods, 
He shall be buried in a stately tomb, 
Close by his aged father Brutus' bones, 
With such great pomp and great solemnity 
As well beseems so brave a prince as he. 
Let Estrild lie without the shallow [shadowy ?] vault, 
Without the honor due unto the dead, 
Because she was the author of this war. 
Retire, brave followers, unto Troynovant, 
Where we will celebrate these exequies, 
And place young Locrine in his father's tomb. 

Even the topics in the speech from " Titus Androni- 
cus" are singularly like those of the preceding. Here 
it follows : — 

Lucius. Some loving friends convey the emperor hence. 
And give him burial in his father's grave : 
My father, and Lavinia, shall forthwith 
Be closed in our household's monument. 
As for that heinous tiger, Tamora, 
No funeral rite, nor man in mournful weeds, 
No mournful bell shall ring her burial ; 
But throw her forth to beasts and birds of prey : 



Her life was beast-like, and devoid of pity; 
And being so, shall have like want of pity. 
See justice done to Aaron, that damned Moor, 
By whom our heavy haps had their beginning : 
Then, afterward, to order well the state ; 
That like events may ne'er it ruinate. 

We conclude by repeating our concurrence with the 
German and our disagreement with the English crit- 
ics. We hold this play of " Locrine" to be from the 
same hand with that of" Titus Andronicus," and we 
believe that hand to have been Shakspeare's. 

Enough on this head. It now only remains to say 
something of the old tradition which forms the sub- 
ject of " Locrine." This seems to have been a fa- 
vorite one with the early poets. The story appears 
in the first pages of Geoffrey of Monmouth, whence 
it passes as an improbable legend into most of the 
subsequent historians. In Geoffrey of Monmouth it 
occupies some thirty pages. Milton, in his " History 
of England," condenses it sufficiently to enable us to 
use it here : — 

" After this, Brutus, in a chosen place, builds Troja 
Nova, changed in time to Trinovantum, now London, 
and began to enact laws, Heli being then high-priest 
in Judea ; and, having governed the whole isle twen- 
ty-four years, died, and was buried in his new Troy. 
His three sons, Locrine, Albanact, and Camber, divide 
the land by consent. Locrine has the middle part, 
Lcegria ; Camber possessed Cambria, or Wales ; Al- 
banact, Albania, now Scotland. But he in the end, 
by Humber, king of the Huns, who with a fleet in- 
vaded that land, was slain in fight, and his people 
drove back into Loegria. Locrine and his brother go 
out against Humber ; who, now marching onward, 
was by them defeated, and in a river drowned, which 
to this day retains his name. Among the spoils of 
his camp and navy were found certain young maids, 
and Estrildis above the rest, passing fair, the daugh- 
ter of a king in Germany ; from whence Humber, as 
he went wasting the seacoast, had led her captive ; 
whom Locrine, — though before contracted to the 
daughter of Corineus — resolves to marry. But being 
forced and threatened by Corineus, whose authority 
and power he feared, Guendolen the daughter he 
yields to marry, but in secret loves the other : and 
ofttimes retiring, as to some private sacrifice, through 
vaults and passages made under ground, and seven 
years thus enjoying her, had by her a daughter 
equally fair, whose name was Sabra. But when once 
his fear was off, by the death of Corineus, not con- 
tent with secret enjoyment, divorcing Guendolen, he 
made Estrildis now his queen. Guendolen, all in 
rage, departs into Cornwall, where Madan, the son 
she had by Locrine, was hitherto brought up by Co- 
rineus, his grandfather ; and gathering an army of 
her father's friends and subjects, gives battle to her 
husband by the river Sture ; wherein Locrine, shot 
with an arrow, ends his life. But not so ends the 
fury of Guendolen ; for Estrildis, and her daughter 
Sabra, she throws into a river : and, to leave a monu- 
ment of her revenge, proclaims that the stream be 
thenceforth called after the damsel's name, which, 
by length of time, is now changed to Sabrina or Sev- 
ern." — Milton uses the subject in his " Comus :" — 

" There is a gentle nymph not far from hence. 
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream : 
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure ; 

Whilome she was the daughter of Locrine, 

That had the sceptre from his father Brute. 

She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit 

Of her enraged stepdame, Guendolen, 

Commended her fair innocence to the flood, 

That stayed her flight with his cross-flowing course." 

It was again employed in the " Mirror of Magis- 
trates," and by Spenser in his " Faerie Queen." Mi- 
chael Drayton, in his " Polyolbion," also makes it 
the subject of his muse in a chant of fifty lines ; and 
as he is a poet but little read — a sturdy native muse 
— who deserves more consideration than he finds, we 
are tempted to embrace his treatment of the story 
in this connexion : — 

" Oh, ever-during heir 
Of Sabrine, Locrine's child (who of her life bereft, 
Her ever-living name to thee, fair river, left) — 
BruttTs first-begotten son, whom Gwendolin did wed ; 
(But soon th'inconstant lord abandoned her bed, 
Through his unchaste desire for beauteous Elstred's love). 
Now that which most of all her mighty heart did move, 
Her father, Cornwall's duke, great Corineius dead, 
Was, by the lustful king, unjustly banished. 
When she, who, to that time, still with a smoothed brow. 
Had seemed to bear the breach of Locrine's former vow, 
Perceiving still her wrongs insufferable were ; 
Grown big with the revenge which her full breast did bear. 
And aided to the birth with every little breath — 
(Alone she being left the spoil of love and death, 
In labor of her grief, outrageously distract, 
The utmost of her spleen on her false lord to act) — 
She first implores their aid, to hate him whom she found ; 
Whose hearts unto the depth she had not left to sound. 
To Cornwall then she sends (her country) for supplies ; 
Which, all at once, in arms, with Gwendolin arise. 
Then with her warlike power her husband she pursued, 
Whom his unlawful love too vainly did delude. 
The fierce and jealous queen, then void of all remorse, 
As great in power as spirit, while he neglects her force, 
Him suddenly surprised, and from her ireful heart, 
All pity clean exiled (whom nothing could convert), 
The son of mighty Brute bereavfid of his life : — 
Amongst the Britons here, the first intestine strife, 
Since they were put a-land upon this promised shore. 
Then crowning Madan king, whom she to Locrine bore, 
And those which saved his soil to his obedience bought: 
Not so with blood sufficed — immediately she sought 
The mother and the child ; whose beauty when she saw, 
Had not her heart been flint, had had the power to draw 
A spring of pitying tears ; when, dropping liquid pearl 
Before the cruel king, the lady and the girl 
Upon their tender knees begged mercy ! — Wo for thee, 
Fair Elstred, that thou shouldst thy fairer Sabrine see, 
As she should thee behold, the prey to her stern rage 
Whom kingly Locrine's death sufficed not to assuage I — 
Who from the bord'ring cliffs thee with thy mother cast 
Into thy christened flood, the whilst the rocks aghast 
Resounded with your shrieks ; till in a deadly dream 
Your corses were dissolved into that crystal stream, 
Your curls to curled waves, which plainly still appear, 
The same in water now. that once in locks they were : 
And as ye wont to clip each other's necks before, 
Ye now, with liquid arms, embrace the wand'ring shore." 

Spenser's narrative may be found in the tenth canto 
of his " Faerie Queen," including half a dozen stan- 
zas from xiv. to xx. The various treatment of the 
subject by these several writers deserves the consid- 
eration of all those who would again employ the 
theme, which, by-the-way, is but little impaired by 
use, however frequent, for the purposes of the future 





Brutus, King of Britain. 

Locrine, his eldest son, and successor. 


younger sons of Brutus. 


CORINEIUS, | 6ro//lcrso/Brutus . 

Thrasymachus, son of Corineius. 

Madan, son of Locrine and Guendeline. 

Debon, a veteran officer. 

Strumbo, a cobbler. 

Tromfart, his apprentice. 

Oliver, an old man. 

William, his son. 

Ghosts of Albanact and Corineius. 

Captain, Page, Soldiers, 8fC. 


Humber, the Chief. 
Hubba, his son. 
Segar, ) CaptainSt 

Thrassier, ) 

Soldiers, fyc. 


Guendeline, daughter of Corineius, and uife of Lo- 

Estrild, wife of Humber, and afterward mistress of 

Sabren, her daughter by Locrine. 

Dorothy, ? ^.^ o/ Strumbo . 

Margery, S 

Ate, as Chorus. 


SCENE I.— A Forest. Thunder and Lightning. 

Enter Ate, habited in sable, a burning torch in one 
hand, a bloody sward in the other. A lion then ap- 
pears, pursuing a bear, which he destroys. Then fol- 
lows an archer who slays the lion, and departs. After 
the dumb show disappears, Ate remains. 

In pamam sectatur et umbra. 1 

Ate. A mighty lion, ruler of the woods, 
Of wondrous strength and great proportion, 
With hideous noise scaring the trembling trees, 
With yelling clamors shaking all the earth, 
Traversed the groves, and chased the wand'ring 
Long did he range among the shady trees, [beasts. 
And drave the silly beasts before his face ; 
When, suddenly, from out a thorny bush, 
A dreadful archer with his bow ybent, 
Wounded the lion with a dismal shaft. — 
So he him struck, that it drew forth the blood, 
And filled his furious heart with fretting ire ; 
But all in vain he threat'neth teeth and paws, 
And sparkleth fire from forth his flaming eyes, 
For the sharp shaft gave him a mortal wound. 
So valiant Brute, the terror of the world, 
Whose only looks did scare his enemies, 
The archer, Death, brought to his latest end. 
Oh, what may long abide above this ground, 
In state of bliss and healthful happiness ! [Exit. 

SCENE II. — -4 Chamber in the Royal Palace. 

Enter Brutus, carriedin achair ; Locrine, Camber, 
Albanact, Corineius, Guendeline, Assaracus, 
Debon, Thrasymachus. 

Albanact, Corineius, < 
Debon, Thrasymachus. 

Brut. Most loyal lords, and faithful followers, 
That have with me, unworthy general, 
Passed the greedy gulf of the ocean, 
Leaving the confines of fair Italy, — 
Behold, your Brutus draweth nigh his end, 
And I must leave you, though against my will. 
My sinews shrink, my numbered 2 senses fail, 

1 '* In pmnam sectatur et umbra." — " The shade or ghost 
pursues for punishment !" This line, though it occurs in the 
old copies immediately under the name of Ate", does not ap- 
pear intended to form any portion of her soliloquy. A space 
occurs between it and the lines which follow, and leaves it 
standing as a sort of epigraph to the speech. The frag- 
mentary character of the line leaves something doubtful in 
its sense. Umbra, which is ghost or shade, may be used to 
signify spectre or Fate ; it may refer to Death, or to Ate her- 
self ; and it is possible that a vague reference may be in- 
tended to former crimes or offences of Brutus, who is thus 
pursued by the avenging deities. And yet the Trojan Bru- 
tus seems to have lived to be an old man. 

2 The senses are numbered, it is true ; but, in all proba- 
bility, the author meant to say, " numbgd." The rhythm is 
satisfied with either word. 



A chilling cold possesseth all my bones, 
Black, ugly Death, with visage pale and wan, 
Presents himself before my dazzled eyes, 
And, with his dart, prepared is to strike. 
These arms, my lords, these never-daunted arms, 
That oft have quelled the courage of my foes, 
And eke dismayed my neighbor's arrogance, 
Now yield to death, o'erlaid with crooked age, 
Devoid of strength and of their proper force ; 
Even as the lusty cedar worn with years, 
That far abroad her dainty odor throws, 
'Mongst all the daughters of proud Lebanon ! — 
This heart, my lords, this ne'er appalled heart, 
That was a terror to the bord'ring lands, 
A doleful scourge unto my neighbor kings, 
Now, by the weapons of impartial Death, 
Is clove asunder and bereft of life ; 
As when the sacred oak, with thunderbolts, 
Sent from the fiery circuit of the heavens, 
Sliding along the air's celestial vaults, 
Is rent and cloven to the very roots. 
In vain, therefore, I struggle with this foe : 
Then welcome death, since God will have it so. 

Assar. Alas, my lord, we sorrow at your case, 
And grieve to see your person vexed thus : — 
But whatsoe'er the fates determined have, 
It lieth not in us to disannul ; 
And he that would annihilate his mind, 
Soaring with Icarus too near the sun, 
May catch a fall with young Bellerophon. 
For when the fatal sisters have decreed 
To separate us from this earthly mould, 
No mortal force can countermand their minds. 
Then, worthy lord, since there's no way but one, 
Cease your laments, and leave your grievous moan. 

Corin. Your highness knows how many victories, 
How many trophies I erected have 
Triumphantly in every place we came. 
The Grecian monarch, warlike Pandrassus, 
And all the crew of the Molossians ; — 
Goffarius, the strong-armed king of Gaul ; — 
Have felt the force of our victorious arms, 
And to their cost beheld our chivalry. 
Where'er Ancora, handmaid of the sun, 
Where'er the sun, bright guardian of the day, 
Where'er the joyful day with cheerful light, 
Where'er the light illuminates the world, 
The Trojan's glory flies with golden wings ; — 
Wings that do soar beyond fell Envy's flight. 
The fame of Brutus and his followers 
Pierceth the skies, and with the skies, the throne 
Of mighty Jove, commander of the world. 
Then, worthy Brutus, leave these sad laments, 
Comfort yourself with this your great renown, 
And fear not Death, though he seem terrible. 

Brutus. Nay, Corineius, you mistake my mind, 
In construing wrong the cause of my complaints: — 
I feared not t'yield myself to fatal Death ; 
God knows it was the least of all my thoughts : 
A greater care torments my very bones, 
And makes me tremble at the thought of it ; 
And, in your lordings,doth the substance lie. 

Thrasy. Most noble lord, if aught your loyal peers 
Accomplish may, to ease your ling'ring grief, 
I, in the name of all, protest to you, 
That we will boldly enterprise the same, 
Were it to enter to black Tartarus, 

Where triple Cerberus with his venomous throat, 
Scareth the ghosts with high resounding noise. 
We'll either rend the bowels of the earth, 
Searching the entrails of the brutish earth, 
Or, with his Ixion's overdaring, soon, 
Be bound in chains of ever-during steel. 

Brut. Then hearken to your sovereign's latest 
In which I will, unto you all, unfold [words, 

Our royal mind and resolute intent. 
When golden Hebe, daughter to great Jove, 
Covered my manly cheeks with youthful down, 
The unhappy slaughter of my luckless sire, 
Drove me, and old Assarachus, mine eame, 1 
As exiles from the bounds of Italy. 
So that perforce we were constrained to fly 
To Grecia's monarch, noble Pandrassus. 
There I, alone, did undertake your cause ; 
There I restored your antique liberty, 
Though Grecia frowned, and all Molossia stormed — 
Though brave Antigonus, with martial band, 
In pitched field encountered me and mine — 
Though Pandrassus and his contributaries, 
With all the rout of their confederates, 
Sought to deface our glorious memory, 
And wipe the name of Trojan from the earth. 
Him did I captivate with this mine arm, 
And by compulsion forced him to agree 
To certain articles which we did propound. 
From Grecia, through the boisterous Hellespont, 
We came into the fields of Lestrigon, 
Whereat our brother Corineius was ; 
Which, when we passed the Cicilian gulf, 
And so transfretting the Illician sea, 
Arrived on the coast of Aquitain ; 
Where, with an army of his barbarous Gauls, 
Goffarius and his brother Gathelus, 
Encount'ring with our host, sustained the foil, 
And, for your sakes, my Turnus there I lost : 
Tumus, that slew six hundred men-at-arms, 
All in an hour, with his sharp battle-axe. 
From thence, upon the strands of Albion, 
To Corus-haven happily we came, 
And quelled the giants, come of Albion's race. 
With Gogmagog, son to Samotheus, 
The cursed captain of that damned crew, 
And in that isle at length I placed you. 
Now, let me see if my laborious toils, 
If all my care, if all my grievous wounds, 
If all my diligence, were well employed. 

Corin. When first 1 followed thee and thine, brave 
I hazarded my fife and dearest blood [king, 

To purchase favor at your princely hands ; 
And, for the same, in dangerous attempts, 
In sundry conflicts, and in divers broils, 
I showed the courage of my manly mind. 
For this I combated with Gathelus, 
The brother to Goffarius of Gaul ; 
For this I fought with furious Gogmagog, 
A savage captain of a savage crew ; 
And, for these deeds, brave Cornwall I received, 
A grateful gift given by a gracious king : 
And, for this gift, this life and dearest blood 
Will Corineius spend for Brutus' good. 

Deb. And what my friend, brave prince, hath vowed 
The same will Debon do unto his end. [to you, 

i Brother. 



Brut. Then, loyal peers, since you are all agreed, 
And resolute to follow Brutus' hests, 1 
Favor my sons — favor these orphans, lords, 
And shield them from the dangers of their foes. 
Locrine, the column of my family, 
And only pillar of my weakened age — 
Locrine, draw near — draw near unto thy sire, 
And take thy latest blessing at his hands : 
And, for thou art the eldest of my sons, 
Be thou a captain to thy bretheren, 
And imitate thy aged father's steps, 
Which will conduct thee to true honor's gate : 
For, if thou follow sacred virtue's lore, 
Thou shalt be crowned with a laurel-branch, 
And wear a wreath of sempiternal fame, 
Sorted amongst the glorious, happy ones. 

Loc. If Locrine do not follow your advice, 
And bear himself in all things like a prince, 
That seeks to amplify the great renown 
Left unto him for an inheritance, 
By those that were his ancestors, 
Let me be flung into the ocean, 
And swallowed in the bowels of the earth ; — 
Or, let the ruddy lightning of great Jove 
Descend upon this my devoted 2 head 

Brut, [taking Guendkline by the hand]. But — fori 
see you all to be in doubt — 
Who shall be matched with our royal son ? 
Locrine, receive this present at my hand : 
A gift more rich than are the wealthy mines 
Found in the bowels of America. 3 
Thou shalt be 'spoused to fair Guendeline : 
Love her, and take her, for she is thine own, 
If so thy uncle and herself do please. 

Corin. And herein how your highness honors me, 
It can not now be in my speech expressed ; 
For careful parents glory not so much 
At their [own] honor and promotion, 
As for to see the issue of their blood 
Seated in honor and prosperity. 

Guend. And far be it from my pure maiden thoughts 
To contradict her aged father's will ; 
Therefore, since he to whom I must obey, 
Hath given me now unto your royal self, 
I will not stand aloof from off the lure, 
Like crafty dames that most of all deny 
That which they most desire to possess. 

Brut, [to Locrine, who kneels]. Then now, my son, 
thy part is on the stage, 
For thou must bear the person of a king. 

[Crowns Locrine. 
Locrine, stand up, and wear the regal crown, 
And think upon the state of majesty, 
That thou with honor well may'st wear the crown ; 
And if thou tenderest these my latest words, 
As thou requir'st my soul to be at rest, 
As thou desirest thine own security, 
Cherish and love thy new-betrothed wife. 

i The old copy reads " hosts :" the word is unquestionably 

2 The old copy reads " devolted," which might have been 
revolted. Devoted is probably the word. 

3 A correspondent hints that this must be a misprint for 
Armenia, or possibly Armorica. "Locrine," however, was 
written during Queen Elizabeth's reign, when the wealth of 
America, newly found, was the common talk. Our early 
dramatists never scrupled at an anachronism ; and I have no 
doubt that, however improperly, America was the word in- 

Loc. No longer let me well enjoy the crown 
Than I do peerless Guendeline. 

Brut. Camber ! 

Cam. My lord. 

Brut. The glory of mine age — [the son] 

And darling of thy mother .Tunoger — 
Take thou the south for thy dominion. 
From thee there shall proceed a royal race, 
That shall maintain the honor of this land, 
And 4 sway the regal sceptre with their hands. 

[Turning to Aleanact. 
And Albanact, thy father's only 5 joy, 
Youngest in years, but not the young'st in mind, 
A perfect pattern of all chivalry, 
Take thou the north for thy dominion ; — 
A country full of hills and ragged rocks, 
Replenished with fierce, untamed beasts, 
As correspondent to thy martial thoughts. 
Live long, my sons, with endless happiness, 
And bear concordance firm among yourselves ; 
Obey the counsels of these fathers grave, 
That you may better bear out violence ! 
But suddenly, through weakness of my age, 
And the defect of youthful puissance, 
My malady increaseth more and more, 
And cruel death hasteneth his quickened pace, 
To dispossess me of my earthly shape : 
Mine eyes wax dim, o'ercast with clouds of age ; 
The pangs of death compass my crazed bones ; — 
Then 6 to you all my blessings I bequeath, 
And, with my blessings, this my fleeting soul. 
My glass is run, and all my miseries 
Do end with life. Death closeth up mine eyes, 
My soul in haste flies to the Elysian fields. [Dies. 

Loc. Accursed stars, damned and accursed stars, 
T'abbreviate my noble father's life ! 
Hard-hearted gods, and [ye] too envious fates, 
Thus to cut off my father's fatal thread ! 
Brutus, that was a glory to us all — 
Brutus, that was a terror to his foes — 
Alas ! too soon, by Demogorgon's knife, 
The martial Brutus is bereft of life. 

Corin.'' No sad complaints may move just Eacus — 
No dreadful threats can fear Judge Rhadamanth. 
Wert thou as strong as mighty Hercules, 
That tamed the huge[st] monsters of the world — 
Plead'st thou as sweet, on the sweet-sounding lute, 
As did the spouse of fair Eurydice, 
That did enchant the waters with his noise, 
And made the stones, birds, beasts, to lead a dance, 
Constrained the hilly trees to follow him — 
Thou couldst not move the judge of Erebus, 
Nor move compassion in grim Pluto's heart ; 
For fatal Mors expecteth all the world, 
And every man must tread the way of death ! 
Brave Tantalus, the valiant Pelops' sire, 
Guest to the gods, suffered untimely death ; 
And old Teithonus, husband to the Morn ; 
And eke, grim Minos, whom just Jupiter 
Deigned to admit unto his sacrifice ! — 
The thundering trumpets of blood-thirsty Mars — 

4 •' That sway" in the old copies. 

5 Perhaps we should read other or youngest joy. We have 
no reason to suppose that there is any fault found with the 
other sons. 

6 " This to you all," in former copies. 

7 In all previous editions, this line, which evidently be- 
longs to Corineius, is given to Locrine. 



The fearful rage of fell Tisiphone — 

The boist'rous waves of humid Ocean, — 

Are instruments and tools of dismal Death. 

Then, noble cousin, cease to mourn his chance, 

Whose age and years were signs that he should die. 

It resteth now that we inter his bones, 

That was a terror to his enemies. 

Take up his corse, and, princes, hold him dead, 

Who, while he lived, upheld the Trojan state. 

Sound drums and trumpets ; march to Trinovant, 

There to provide our chieftain's funeral. 1 [Exeunt. 

SCENE III.— The House of Strumbo, the Cobbler. 
He appears above, in a Gown, with Ink and Paper in 
his hand. 

Strum. Either the four elements, the seven planets, 
and all the particular stars of the pole Antastic, are 
adversitive against me. or else I was begotten and 
born in the wane of the moon, when everything, as 
Lactantius, in his fourth Book of Constuttations, doth 
say, goeth arsward. Ay, masters, ay; — you may 
laugh, but I must weep ; you may joy, but I must sor- 
row : shedding salt tears from the watery fountains 
of my moist, dainty, fair eyes, along my comely and 
smooth cheeks, in as great plenty as the water run- 
neth from the bucking-tubs, or red wine out of the 
hogsheads ; for, trust me, gentlemen, and my very 
good friends, and so forth — the little god, nay, the 
desperate god, Cuprit, with one of his vengible bird- 
bolts, hath shot me unto the heel ; so, not only, but 
also, oh, fine phrase, I burn, I burn, and I burn a ! — 
in love, in love, and in love a ! — Ah, Strumbo, what 
hast thou seen ? Not Dina with the ass, Tom? Yea, 
with these eyes thou hast seen her, and therefore pull 
them out ; for they will work thy bale. Ah, Strum- 
bo, hast thou heard the voice of the nightingale? — 
but a voice sweeter than hers ? — yea, with these ears 
hast thou heard them, and therefore cut them off, for 
they have caused thy sorrow. Nay, Strumbo, kill 
thyself, drown thyself, hang thyself, starve thyself. 
Oh ! but then I shall leave my sweetheart. Oh, my 
heart ! Now, pate, 2 for thy master. I will 'dite an 
aliquant love-'pistle to her ; and then she, hearing the 
grand verbosity of my scripture, will love me pres- 
ently, f Writes, and then reads.] My pen is naught, 
gentlemen ; lend me a knife. I think the more haste 
the worst speed. [ Writes again, and reads.] Soil is, 
Mistress Dorothy, and the sole essence of my soul, that 
the little sparkles of affection kindled in me toward your 
sweet self, have now increased to a great flame, and will, 
ere it be long, consume my poor heart, except you, with 
the pleasant water of your secret fountain, quench the 
furious heat of the same. Alas .' lam a gentleman of 
good fame and name; majestical ; in apparel comely ; 
in gait portly. Let not, therefore, your gentle heart be 
so hard as to despise a proper, tall young man of a hand- 
some life, and, by despising him, not only but also to kill 

t The traditional history of Brutus is abridged by Milton 
in his "History of England." He says : "After this, Brutus, 
in a chosen place, built Troja Nova, changed in time to Trin- 
ovantum, now London, and began to enact laws, Heli being 
then high-priest in Judea ; and having governed the whole 
isle twenty-four years, died, and was buried in his new Troy. 
His three sons, Locrine, Albanact, and Camber, divided the 
land by consent. Locrine has the middle part, Loegria ; 
Camber possesses Cambria, or Wales ; Albanact, Albania, 
now Scotland," &c. 

- Scratching his head. 

him. Thus, expecting time and tide, I bid you farewell. 
Your servant, Signor Strumbo. 

Q, wit ! 0, pate ! O, memory ! 0, hand ! O, ink ! 
0, paper ! Well, now I will send it away. Trompart, 
Trompart ! what a villain is this ! Why, sirrah, come 
when your master calls you. Trompart .' 

Trom. [entering]. Anon, sir. 

Strum. Thou knowest, my pretty boy, what a good 
master I have been to thee ever since I took thee in- 
to my service. 

Trom. Ay, sir. 

Strum. And how I have cherished thee always, as 
if thou hadst been the fruit of my loins, flesh of my 
flesh, and bone of my bone. 

Trom. Ay, sir. 

Strum. Then show thyself herein a trusty servant, 
and carry this letter to Mistress Dorothy, and tell 
her — [Whispers in his car and exit Trompart. 

Strum. Nay, masters, you shall see a marriage by- 
and-by. But, here she comes. Now must I frame 
my amorous passions. 

He descends and enter Dorothy and Tromport. 
Doro. Signor Strumbo, well met. I received your 
letter by your man here, who told me a pitiful story 
of your anguish, and so, understanding your passions 
were so great, I came hither speedily. 

Strum. Oh, my sweet and Pigsney, 3 the fecundity 
of my ingeny 4 is not so great, that may declare unto 
you the sorrowful sobs, and broken sleeps that I 
[have] suffered for your sake ; and therefore I desire 
you to receive me into your familiarity. 
For your love doth lie, 
As near and as nigh, 

Unto my heart within, 
As mine eye to my nose, 
My leg unto my hose, 

And my flesh unto my skin. 
Dor. Truly. Master Strumbo, you speak too learn- 
edly for me to understand the drift of your mind, and 
therefore tell your tale in plain terms, and leave off 
your dark riddles. 

Strum. Alas, Mistress Dorothy, this is my luck, 
that when I most would, I can not be understood : so 
that my great learning is an inconvenience to me. 
But, to speak in plain terms, I love you, Mistress 
Dorothy, if you like to accept me into your famili- 

Dor. If this be all, I am content. 
Strum. Say'st thou so, sweet wench, let me lick 
thy toes. Farewell, mistress. [To the audience.] If 
any of you be in love, provide ye a cap-case 5 full of 
new coined words, and then shall you soon have the 
succado de labres, 6 and something else. f [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. — An Apartment in the Palace. 

Enter Locrine, Guendeline, Camber, Albanact, 
Corineius, Assarachus, Deeon, Thrasymachus. 

Loc. Uncle and princes of brave Britany, 
Since that our noble father is entombed, 

3 Some ridiculous diminutive, signifying tenderness. 

4 It is scarcely necessary to seek a meaning for this per- 
verse nonsense, but Strumbo would seem to say that his ge- 
nius is not so fecund as to enable him to say how much he 
had suffered. 

6 The printers say. " a case of caps," " small caps," &c. A 
case of caps of new-coined words, might almost be taken 
from the printing-office. 

o Sweet smack of the lips. 



As best beseemed so brave a prince as he, 
If so you please, this day, my love and I, 
Within the temple of Concordia, 
Will solemnize our royal marriage. 

Thrasy. Right noble lord, your subjects every one, 
Must needs obey your highness at command, 
Especially in such a cause as this, 
That much concerns your highness' great content. 

Loc. Then frolic, lordings, to fair Concord's walls, 
Where we will pass the day in knightly sports, 
The night in dancing and in figured masks, 
And offer to God, Risus, all our sports. [Exeunt. 



Enter Ate, as before. Thunder and lightning, then a 
mask: Perseus and Andromeda, hand in hand, and 
Cepheus with swords and targets. Then opposite, 
Phineus, all black in armor, uith Ethiopians after 
him, driving in Perseus, and taking away Androm- 
eda. Then all depart but Ate. 

Regit omnia numen. 1 

Ate. When Perseus married fair Andromeda, 
The only daughter of King Cepheus, 
He thought he had established well his crown, 
And that his kingdom should for aye endure. 
But lo ! proud Phineus, with a band of men, 
Composed 2 of sun-burned Ethiopians, 
By force of arms, the bride he took from him, 
And turned their joy into a flood of tears ! 
So fares it with young Locrine and his love ; — 
He thinks this marriage tendeth to his weal, 
But this foul day, this foul accursed day, 
Is the beginning of his miseries. 
Behold, where Humber and his Scythians 
Approacheth nigh with all his warlike train ! — 
It needs not, I, the sequel should declare, 3 
What tragic chances fell out in this war. [Exit. 

SCENE II.— The Seacoast of Britain. 

Enter Humber, Hubba, Estrild, Segar, and their 

Hum. At length the snail doth climb the highest 
Ascending up the stateliest castle walls ; — [tops, 
At length the water, with continual drops, 
Doth penetrate the hardest marble stone ; — 
At length we are arrived in Albion, — 
Nor could the barbarous Dacian's sovereign, 
Nor yet the ruler of brave Belgia, 
Stay us from cutting over to this isle ! — 
Whereas I hear, a troop of Phrygians, 
Under the conduct of Posthumius' son, 
Have pitched up lordly pavilions, 
And hope to prosper in this lovely isle: 
But I will frustrate all their foolish hopes, 
And teach them that the Scythian emperor 

1 "Regit omnia numen." — "The Divinity [Fate] rules all 
things." We repeat the note here which occurs at the open- 
ing of the first act. The Latin epigraph may or may not 
belong to the speech of Ate. It would seem needless to be 
spoken in her case. 

2 " Contrived," in the original. 

3 In the old copies this line runs thus : — 

" I need noj I, the sequel shall declare." 

Leads Fortune tied in a chain of gold, 
Constraining her to yield unto his will, 
And grace him with her regal diadem : 
Which I will have, maugre their treble hosts, 
And all the power their petty kings can make. 

Hub. If she that rules fair Rhamnis' golden gate, 
Grant us the honor of the victory, 
As hitherto she always favored us, 
Right noble father, we will rule the land, 
Enthronized in seats of topaz stones, 
That Locrine and his brethren all may know, 
None must be king but Humber and his son. 

Hum. Courage, my son ; — fortune shall favor us, 
And yield to us the coronet of bays, 
That decketh none but noble conquerors ! — 
But what saith Estrild 4 to these regions ? 
How liketh she the temperature thereof? 
Are they not pleasant in her gracious eyes ? 

Est. The plains, my lord, garnished with Flora's 
And overspread with parti-colored flowers, 
Do yield sweet contentalion to my mind ; — 
The airy hills, enclosed with shady groves, — 
The groves replenished with sweet chirping birds, — 
The birds resounding heavenly melody, — 
Are equal to the groves of Thessaly, 
Where Phoebus, and those learned ladies, nine, 
Delight themselves with music's harmony, 
And, from the moisture of the mountain tops. 
The silent springs dance down with murmuring 

And water all the ground with crystal waves ! — 
The gentle blasts of Eurus' modest wind, 
Moving the fluttering" 5 leaves of Sylvan's woods, 
Do equal it with Tempe's paradise, 
And thus consorted 6 all to one effect, 
Do make me think these are the happy isles .' — 
Most fortunate if Humber may them win. 

Hub. Madam, where resolution leads the way, 
And courage follows with emboldened pace, 
Fortune can never use her tyranny ! — 
For valiantness is like unto a rock 
That standeth on the waves of ocean, 
Which, though the billows beat on every side, 
And Boreas fell, with his tempestuous storms, 
Bloweth upon it with a hideous clamor, 
Yet it remaineth still immoveable. 

Hum. Kingly resolved, thou glory of thy sire ! — 
But, worthy Segar, what uncouth novelties 7 
Bring'st thou unto our royal majesty ? 

Scg. My lord, the youngest of all Brutus' sons, 
Stout Albanact, with millions of men, 
Approacheth nigh, and meaneth, ere the morn, 
To try your force by dint of fatal sword. 

Hum. Tut ! — let him come with millions of hosts, 
He shall find entertainment good enough, 
Yea, fit for those that are our enemies: 
For we'll receive them at our lances' points, 
And massacre their bodies with our blades . 
Yea, though they were in number infinite, 
More than the mighty Babylonian queen, 

4 This name is printed in the old copies sometimes as we 
have here written, and sometimes Elslrid. We shall make 
it uniform throughout. 

5 " Pittering" in the old copy. It might be "pattering," 
but "fluttering" seems most appropriate. 

6 " Comforted" in the original. The correction is found in 
Rowe's edition. 

7 Uncourtly news — which would better suit the rhythm. 



Semiramis, the ruler of the west, 
Brought 'gainst the emperor of the Scythians, 
Yet would we not start back one foot from them : 
That they might know we are invincible. 

Hub. Now, by great Jove, the supreme king of 
And the immortal gods that live therein, [heaven, 
When, as the morning shows his cheerful face, 
And Lucifer, mounted upon his steed, 
Brings in the chariot of the golden sun, 
I'll meet young Albanact in open field, 
And crack my lance upon his burgonet, 
To try the valor of his boyish strength ! — 
There will I show such rueful spectacles 
And cause so great effusion of blood, 
That all his boys shall wonder at my strength ! — 
As when the warlike queen of Amazon, 
Penthesilea. armed with her lance, 
Girt with a corslet of bright-shining steel, 
Cooped up the faint-beart Grecians in their camp. 

Hum. Spoke like a warlike knight, my noble son ; 
Nay, like a prince that seeks his father's joy. 
Therefore, to-morrow, ere fair Titan shine, 
And bashful Eos messenger of light, 
Expels the liquid sleep from out men's eyes, 
Thou shalt conduct the right wing of the host ; — 
The left wing shall be under Segar's charge, 
The rearward shall be under me, myself ; 
And lovely Estrild, fair and gracious, 
If Fortune favor me in mine attempt, 
Thou shalt be queen of lovely Albion. 
Fortune shall favor me in mine attempt, 
And make thee queen of lovely Albion. 
Come, let us in, and muster up our train, 
And furnish up our lusty soldiers, 
That they may be a bulwark to our state, 
And bring our wished joys to perfect end. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III.— The Cobler's Stall 0/ Strumbo. 

Strumbo, Dorothy, and Trompart, at work, and 

Trom. We coblers lead a merry life : 
Chorus. Dan, dan, dan, dan. 
Strum. Void of all envy and strife : 
Chorus. Dan, diddle dan. 1 
Dor. Our ease is great, our labor small ; 
Strum. And yet our gains be much, withal : 
Dor. With this art so fine and fair, — 
Trom. No occupation may compare : 
Strum. For merry pastime and joyful glee, — 
Dor. Most happy men we coblers be : 
Trom. The can stands full of nappy ale, 
Strum. In our shop still, withouten fail : 
Dor. This is our meat, this is our food ; — 
Trom. This brings us to a merry mood : 
Strum. This makes us work for company : 
Dor. To pull the tankards cheerfully : 
Trom. Drink to thy husband, Dorothy. 
Dor. Why then, my Strumbo, here's to thee : 
Strum. Drink thou the rest, Trompart, amain : 
Dor. When that is gone, we'll fill't again : 
Chorus. Dan diddle dan. 

Enter Captain. 
Capt. The poorest state is farthest from annoy ! 

l Each line is followed by the chorus, as the first two. We 
omit them, as the monotonous recurrence of " Dan, dan, did- 
dle dun," sung or unsung, would only fatigue. 

How merrily he sitteth on his stool ; — 
But when he sees that needs he must be pressed, 
He'll turn his note and sing another tune. 
Ho, by your leave, master cobler. 

Strum. You are welcome, gentleman. What will 
you ? Any old shoes or buskins ; or will you have 
your shoes clouted ? I will do them as well as any 
cobler in Cathnes whatsoever. 

Capt. [showing him press-money]. 0, master cob- 
ler, you are far deceived in me ; for, do you see 
this ? I come not to buy any shoes, but to buy your- 
self. Come, sir, you must be a soldier in the king's 

Strum. Why, but hear you, sir ! — Has your king 
any commission to take any man against his will ? 
I promise you, I can scant 2 believe it ; — or did he give 
you commission ? 

Capt. Oh, sir, you need not care for that. I need 
no commission. Hold here, I command you, in the 
name of our king Albanact, to appear to-morrow in 
the townhouse of Cathnes. 

Strum. King Nactabell .' — I cry God mercy! — 
what have we to do with him, or he with us ? But 
you, sir, Master Capontail, draw your pasteboard, or 
else I promise you I'll give you a canvasado, with a 
bastinado over your shoulders, and teach you to come 
hither with your implements ! 

Capt. I pray thee, good fellow, be content. I do 
the king's command. 

Strum. Put me out of your book, then. 

Capt. I may not. [Strumbo snatching up a staff.] 
No ! wilt come, sir ? Will your stomach serve you ? 
By Gog's blewhood and halidom, I will have a bout 
with you. [They fight. 

Enter Thrasymachus. 

Thrasy. How now ? what noise, what sudden clam- 
My captain and the cobbler hard at fight ? [or's this ? 
Sirs, what's your quarrel ? 

Capt. Nothing, sir, but that he will not take press- 

Thrasy. Here, good fellow, take it at my command, 
Unless you mean to be stretched. 

Strum. Truly, master gentleman, I lack no money. 
If you please, I will resign it to one of these poor fel- 

Thrasy. No such matter : 
Look, you be at the common-house to-morrow. 

[Exeunt Thrasymachus and the Captain. 

Strum. O wife, I have spun a fair thread. If I had 
been quiet, I had not been pressed, and therefore well 
may I lament. But come, sirrah, shut up, for we 
must to the wars. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV.— The Camp of Albanact. 

Enter Albanact, Debon, Thrasymachus, and other 

Alb. Brave cavaliers, princes of Albany, 
Whose trenchant blades, with our deceased sire, 
Passing the frontiers of brave Grecia, 
Were bathed in our enemies' lukewarm blood. 
Now is the time to manifest your will, 
Your haughty minds and resolutions ! 
Now opportunity is offered 

2 Scant— scarce. 



To try your courage and your earnest zeal, 
Which you always professed 1 to Albanact ; 
For, at this time, yea, at this present time, 
Stout fugitives, come from the Scythian's bounds, 
Have pestered every place with mutinies : 
But trust me, lordings, I will never cease 
To persecute the rascal runagates, 
Till all the rivers, stained with their blood, 
Shall fully show their fatal overthrow. 

Deb. So shall your highness merit great renown, 
And imitate your aged father's steps. 

Alb. But tell me, cousin, cam'st thou through the 
And saw'st thou there the faint-heart fugitives 
Mustering their weather-beaten soldiers ? 
What order keep they in their marshalling ? 

Thrasy. After we passed the groves of Caledon, 
We did behold the straggling Scythians' camp, 
Replete with men, stored with munition. 
There might we see the valiant-minded knights 
Fetching careers 2 along the spacious plains ; — 
Humber and Hubba, armed in azure blue, 
Mounted upon their coursers white as snow, 
Went to behold the pleasant flow'ring fields ; — 
Hector and Troilus, Priam's lovely sons, 
Chasing the Grecians over Simoeis, 
Were not to be compared to these two knights. 

Alb. Well hast thou painted out, in eloquence, 
The portraiture of Humber and his son ; — 
As fortunate as was Polycrates : 
Yet should they not escape our conquering swords, 
Or boast of aught but of our clemency. 

[Cries without.] — Enter Strumbo and Trompart. 

Strum, and Trom. Wildfire and pitch, wildfire and 
pitch ! 

Thrasy. What, sirs ! — what mean you by these 
clamors made — 
These outcries raised in our stately court ? 

Strum. Wildfire and pitch, wildfire and pitch ! 

Thrasy. Villains ! I say, tell us the cause hereof. 

Strum. Wildfire and pitch, Avildfire and pitch ! 

Thrasy. Tell me, you villains, why you make this 
Or, with my lance, I'll prick your bowels out. 

Alk Where are your houses, where's your dwelling- 
place ? 

Strum. Place ? ha, ha, ha ! laugh a month and a 
day at him. Place ! I cry God mercy ! why, do you 
think that such poor, honest men as we be, hold our 
habitacles in kings' palaces ? Ha, ha, ha ! But, be- 
cause you seem to be an abominable chieftain, I will 
tell you our state 3 — 

From the top to the toe, 
From the head to the shoe ; 
From the beginning to the ending, 
From the building to the burning. 

This honest fellow and I had our mansion-cottage 
in the suburbs of this city, hard by the temple of 
Mercury ; and [these] , by the common soldiers of the 

, 4 the Scythians — what do you call them? — 

with all the suburbs, were burnt to the ground, and 

1 " Protest" in the folio. 

s " Carriers" in the old copy. 

3 " Your state" in the folio. 

* I have here suppressed a vulgarity. 

the ashes are left there for the country wives to wash 
bucks withal. 

And that which grieves me most, 

My loving wife, O cruel strife ! 
The wicked flames did roast. 

And therefore, Captain Crust, 
We will continually cry, 
Except you seek a remedy 
Our houses to re-edify, 

Which now are burnt to dust ! 

Both cry. Wildfire and pitch, wildfire and pitch .' 

Alb. Well, we must remedy these outrages, 
And throw revenge upon their hateful heads : 
And you, good fellows, for your houses burnt, 
We will remunerate you store of gold, 
And build your houses by our palace-gate. 

Strum. Gate ? 0, petty treason to my person ! no- 
where else but by your backside ? Gate ? oh how I 
am vexed in my choler ! Gale ? I cry God mercy, do 
you hear, master king ? If you mean to gratify such 
poor men as we be, you must build our houses by the 

Alb. It shall be done, sir. 

Strum. Near the tavern ! ay, by'r lady, sir, it was 
spoken like a good fellow. Do you hear, sir ? when 
our house is builded, if you do chance to pass or re- 
pass that way, we will bestow a quart of the best 
wine upon you. [Exit. 

Alb. It grieves me, lordings, that my subjects' goods 
Should thus be spoiled by the Scythians, 
Who, as you see, with lightfoot foragers 
Depopulate the places where they come. 
But, cursPd Humber, thou shalt rue the day 
That e'er thou cam'st unto Cathnesia ! [Exeunt. 

SCENE \'. — The Camp of Humber. 

Enter Humber, Hubba, Segar, Thrassier, and Sol- 

Hum. Hubba, go take a cornet of our horse, 
As many lancers, and light-armed knights, 
As may suffice for such an enterprise, 
And place them in the grove of Caledon ; 
With these, when as the skirmish doth increase, 
Retire thou from the shelter of the wood, 
And set upon the weakened Trojans' backs ; — 
For policy, [when] joined with chivalry, 
Can never be put back from victory. [Exit Hubba. 

Enter Albanact, with his Militia. 

Alb. Thou base-born Hun, how durst thou be so 
As thus 5 to menace warlike Albanact, [bold 

The great commander of these regions ? 
But thou shalt buy thy rashness with thy death, 
And rue too late thy over-bold attempts ; 
For, with this sword, this instrument of death, 
That hath been drenched in my foemen*s blood, 
I'll separate thy body from thy head, 
And set that coward blood of thine abroach. 

Strum. Nay, with this staff, great Strumbo's instru- 
I'll crack thy cock's-comb, paltry Scythian ! [ment, 

Hum. Nor reck I of thy threats, thou princox boy, 
Nor do I fear thy foolish insolency ; 
And, but thou better use thy bragging blade 

5 " Once" in the folio. 



Than thou dost rule thy overflowing tongue, 
Superbious Briton, thou shalt know too soon 
The force of Humber and his Scythians. [They fight. 
Humber and his troops are driven in. 
Strum. O, horrible ! 0, terrible ! [Exeunt. 

SCENE VI. — Another part of the Field of Battle. 

Alarums. Enter Humber and his Soldiers. 

Hum. How bravely this young Briton, Albanact, 
Darteth abroad the thunderbolts of war ! 
Beating down millions with his furious mood, 
And in his glory triumphs over all, 
Moving the massy squadrons ofF the ground ! 
Heap hills on hills, to scale the starry sky ! — 
As when Briareus, armed with hundred hands, 
Flung forth a hundred mountains at great Jove ; 
As when the monstrous giant Monichus 
Hurled Mount Olympus at great Mars' targe, 
And shot huge cedars at Minerva's shield ! 
How doth he overlook, with haughty front, 
My fleeting host, and lifts his lofty face 
Against us all, that now do fear his force — 
Like as we see the wrathful sea from far, 
In a great mountain heap 1 with hideous noise, 
With thousand billows, beats against the ships, 
And toss them in the waves like tennis-balls ! 

Ah me ! I fear my Hubba is surprised ! 

[Exit Humber. 
Alarums. Enter Albanact. 

Alb. Follow me. soldiers, follow Albanact : 
Pursue the Scythians, flying through the field ; 
Let none of them escape with victory ! 
That they may know the Briton's force is more 
Than is the power of all the trembling Huns. 

Thrasy. Forward, brave soldiers, forward ! keep 
the chase ! 
He that takes captive Humber, or his son, 
Shall be rewarded with a crown of gold. [Exeunt. 

SCENE VII. — Another part of the Field. 

Alarums. Enter Humber, pursued by Debon. Hub- 
ba enters behind, kills Debon, and exit. Strumbo 
falls, pretending to be slain. Enter Albanact, 

Alb. Injurious fortune, hast thou crossed me thus ? 
Thus, in the morning of my victories — 
Thus, in the prime of my felicity, 
To cut me off by such hard overthrow ! 
Hadst thou no time thy rancor to declare, 
But in the spring of all my dignities ? 
Hadst thou no place to spit thy venom out, 
But on the person of young Albanact ? 
I, that erewhile did scare mine enemies, 
And drove them almost to a shameful flight ; 
I, that erewhile, full lion-like did fare 
Amongst the dangers of the thick-thronged pikes — 
Must now depart, most lamentably slain 
By Humber's treacheries and Fortune's spites ! 
Cursed be her charms, damned be her cursed charms, 
That doth delude the wayward hearts of men — 
Of men that trust unto her fickle wheel, 
Which never leaveth turning upside down ! 
1 "Heap't" in former copies. 

gods ! O heavens ! allot me but the place 
Where I may find her hateful mansion. 
I'll pass the Alps to watery Meroe, 
Where fiery Phoebus in his chariot, 
The wheels whereof are decked with emeralds, 
Casts such a heat, yea, such a scorching heat, 
As spoileth Flora of her chequered grass ! — 
I'll overturn the mountain Caucasus, 
Where fell Chimera, in her triple shape, 
Rolleth hot flames from out her monstrous paunch, 
Scaring the beasts with issue of her gorge ! — 
I'll pass the frozen zone, where icy flakes, 
Stopping the passage of the fleeting ships, 
Do he, like mountains, in the congealed sea ! — 
Where, if I find that hatefal house of hers, 
I'll pull the fickle wheel from out her hands, 
And tie herself in everlasting bands ! 
But all in vain I breathe these threatenings : 
The day is lost ; the Huns are conquerors ; 
Debon is slain ; my men are done to death ; 
The currents swift swim violent with blood ; 
And last — 0, that this last night so long last ! — 
Myself, with wounds past all recovery, 
Must leave my crown for Humber to possess. [Falls. 
Strum. Lord have mercy upon us, masters ! I think 
this is a holyday : every man lies sleeping in the 
fields ; but, God knows, full sore against their wills. 

Enter Thrasymachus. 

Thrasy. Fly, noble Albanact, and save thyself! 
The Scythians follow with great celerity, 
And there's no way but flight, or speedy death ; 
Fly, noble Albanact, and save thyself. [Alarums. 

Alb. Nay, let them fly that fear to die the death, 
That tremble at the name of fatal Mors : 
Ne'er shall proud Humber boast or brag himself 
That he hath put young Albanact to flight ; 
And lest he should triumph at my decay, 
This sword shall 'reave his master of his life, 
That oft hath saved his master's doubtful life ! 
But oh ! my brethren, if you care for me, 
Revenge my death upon his traitorous head. 
Et vos quels domus est nigrantis regia ditis, 
Qui regitis rigido Stygios moderamine lucos ; 
Nox caci regina poli,furialis Erinnys, 
Biique dcazque omnes Albanum tollite regem, 
Tollite flumineis undis rigidaque palude ; 
Nunc me fata vacant, hoc condam pectore ferrum* 

[Stabs himself? 

2 There is certainly great dignity in thus dying with one's 
mouth full of Latin hexameters. These verses are probably 
original with the author, and if the play be Shakspeare's, will 
certainly justify the claim of Ben Jonson of a " little Latin'' 
in his behalf. The reader may be curious to see King Al- 
banact's speech in the vernacular. A learned friend, to 
whom the Latin verses of this play were all submitted, if 
possible for verification with those of known classical au- 
thors, suggests, that, as we do not hear of Stygian groves in 
our mythology, we should probably read, for " lucos," in the 
second line, lacos : — but the banks of the Stygian lake may 
have had their woods, and I prefer that the word should 
stand as in the old folio. Our rendering is almost literal :- 

" And you who sway in Pluto's royal house, 
And govern with stern power the Stygian realms, 
Night, queen of cloudy heavens — thou fearful fury, 
And you, ye gods and goddesses, receive 
The Alban sovereign to your gloomy lake 
And ever-flowing streams !— The summoning fates 
Decree, and through this bosom goes the sword." 

3 Milton's history of the defeat of Albanact is as follows : 
"He [Albanact], in the end, by Humber, king of the Huns, 
who with a fleet invaded that land [Scotland— Albania], was 
slain in tight, and his people drove back into Lcegria." 



Enter Trompart, who sees Strumbo. 

Trom. Oh ! what hath he done ? his nose bleeds : 
but I smell a fox ; look where my master lies. Mas- 
ter, master .' 
Strum. Let me alone, I tell thee, for I'm dead. 
Trom. Yet one word, good master. 
Strum. I will not speak, for I am dead, I tell thee. 
Trom. And is my master dead ? 
0, sticks and stones, brickbats and bones, 

And is my master dead ? 
you cockatrices, and you bablatrices, 

That in the woods dwell ; 
You briers and brambles, you cook-shops and sham- 
Come, howl and yell ! [bles, 
With howling and shrieking, with wailing and weep- 
Come you, lament ; [ing, 
colliers of Croyden, and rustics of Royden, 

And fishers of Kent ; — 
For Strumbo the cobbler, the fine, merry cobbler, 

Of Cathnes town, 
At this same stour, at this very hour, 

Lies dead on the ground ! 
O, master ! thieves, thieves, thieves ! 

Strum. Where be they ? Cox me tunny, bobekin, 
let me be rising. Be gone ; we shall be robbed by- 
and-by. [ They run off. 

SCENE VIII.— The Camp of the Huns. 

Enter Humber, Hubba,Segar, Thrassier, Estrild, 
and Soldiers. 

Hum. Thus, from the dreadful shocks of furious 
Thund'ring alarums, and Rhamnusia's drum, [Mars' 
We are retired with joyful victory. 
The slaughtered Trojans, weltering 1 in their blood, 
Infect the air with their [dead] carcasses, 
And are a prey for every ravenous bird. 

Est. So perish they that are our enemies ! 
So perish they that love not Humber's weal ! — 
And, mighty Jove, commander of the world, 
Protect my love from all false treacheries. 

Hum. Thanks, lovely Estrild, solace to my soul ! 
But, valiant Hubba, for thy chivalry 
Declared against the men of Albany, 
Lo ! — here a flowering garland wreathed of bay, 
As a reward for this thy forward mind ! 

[Crowns Hubba. 

Hub. This unexpected honor, noble sire, 
Will prick my courage unto braver deeds, 
And cause me to attempt such hard exploits, 
That all the world shall sound of Hubba's name. 

Hum. And now, brave soldiers, for this good suc- 
Carouse whole cups of Amazonian wine, 2 [cess, 

Sweeter than nectar or ambrosia ; 
And cast away the clouds of cursed care 
With goblets crowned with Semeleius' gifts ! — 
Now let us march to Abis' silver streams, 
That clearly glide along the champaign fields, 
And moist the grassy meads with humid drops. 
Sound drums and trumpets — sound up cheerfully, 
Sith we return with joy and victory. [Exeunt. 

1 I have substituted weltering for " sgueltering," the word 
employed in the old copies, and in its day quite legitimate, 
but having the same meaning with the modern word. 

2 It is difficult to say what sort of beverage this could have 
been. From its name it should unite the virtues of both 
sexes, the strength of the one with the sweetness of the 
other : a good name for a drink. 



Enter Ate, as before. A dumb Show. A Crocodile 
lies on a River's Bank ; a little Snake stings it, and 
both fall into the Water. 

Ate. Scelera in authorem cadunt. 3 
High on a bank by Nilus' boisterous 4 streams, 
Fearfully sat the Egyptian crocodile, 
Dreadfully grinding, in her sharp long teeth, 
The broken bowels of a silly fish : 
His back was armed against the dint of spear, 
With shields of brass that shone like burnished gold ; 
And, as he stretched forth his cruel paws, 
A subtle adder, creeping closely near, 
Thrusting his forked tongue into his claws, 
Privily shed his poison through his bones, 
Which made him swell, that there his bowels burst 
That did so much in his own greatness trust. 
So Humber, having conquered Albanact, 
Doth yield his glory unto Locrine's sword. 
Mark what ensues, and you may eas'ly see 
That all our life is but a tragedy. [Exit. 

SCENE II. — Troynovant. An Apartment in the Royal 

Enter Locrine, Guendeune, Corineius, Assaracus, 
Thrasymachus, and Camber. 

Lac. And is this true ? is Albanactus slain ? 
Hath cursed Humber, with his straggling host — 
With that his army made of mongrel curs — 
Brought our redoubted brother to his end ? 
O, that I had the Thracian Orpheus' harp, 
For to awake, out of the infernal shade, 
Those ugly devils of black Erebus 
That might torment the damnfid traitor's soul ! 
0, that I had Amphion's instrument, 
To quicken, with his vital notes and tunes, 
The flinty joints of every stony rock, 
By which the Scythians might be punished '. 
For, by the lightning of Almighty Jove, 
The Hun shall die had he ten thousand lives ! 
And, would to God he had ten thousand lives, 
That I might, with the arm-strong Hercules, 
Crop off so vile a hydra's hissing heads ! 
But, say, my cousin, for I long to hear, 
How Albanact came by untimely death? 

Thrasy. After the traitorous host of Scythians 
Entered the field with martial equipage, 
Young Albanact, impatient of delay, 
Led forth his army 'gainst the straggling mates, 
Whose multitude did daunt our soldiers' minds. 
Yet nothing could dismay the froward prince j 
Who, 5 with a courage most heroical, 
Like to a lion 'mongst a flock of lambs, 
Made havoc of the faint-heart fugitives, 
Hewing a passage through them with his sword ! 

3 " Scelera in authorem cadunt." — The author, or doer, is 
responsible, or answerable, for the crime or deed. In imi- 
table blank verse : — 

" The criminal must answer for his crime !" 
It will be observed that here the printer has made the veri- 
graph a part of the speech of Ate. 

4 The epithet here is better suited to the rhythm than the 

6 I substitute who for " but," which is the word in previ- 
ous editions. 



Yea, we had almost given them the repulse, 
When suddenly, from out the silent wood, 
Hubba, with twenty thousand soldiers, 
Cowardly came upon our weakened backs, 
And murdered all with fatal massacre ; 
Amongst the which, old Debon, martial knight, 
With many wounds was brought unto the death ; 
And Albanact, oppressed with multitudes, 
Whilst valiantly he felled his enemies, 
Yielded his life and honor to the dust. 
He being dead, the soldiers fled amain, 
And I alone escaped them by flight, 
To bring you tidings of these accidents. 

Loc. Not aged Priam, king of stately Troy, 
Grand emperor of barbarous Asia, 
When he beheld his noble-minded sons 
Slain trait'rously by all the myrmidons, 
Lamented more than I for Albanact. 

Guend. Not Hecuba, the queen of Ilium, 
When she beheld the town of Pergamus, 
Her palace, burnt with all-devouring flames, 
Her fifty sons and daughters, fresh of hue, 
Murdered by wicked Pyrrhus' bloody sword, 
Shed such sad tears as I for Albanact. 

Cam. The grief of Niobe, fair Athens' queen, 
For her seven sons magnanimous in field, 
For her seven daughters fairer than the fair'st, 
Is not to be compared with my laments. 

Cor. In vain you sorrow for the slaughtered prince, 
In vain you sorrow for his overthrow ; 
He loves not most that doth lament the most, 
But he that seeks t'avenge the injury. 
Think you to quell the enemy's warlike train 
With childish sobs and womanish laments ? 
Unsheath your swords, unsheath your conquering 
And seek revenge, the comfort for this sore ! [swords, 
In Cornwall, where I hold my regiment, 
Even just ten thousand valiant men-at-arms, 
Hath Corineius ready at command ! — 
All these, and more, if need shall more require, 
Hath Corineius ready at command. 

Cam. And, in the fields of martial Cambria, 
Close by the boisterous Iscan's silver streams, 
Where light foot fairies skip from bank to bank, 
Full twenty thousand brave, courageous knights, 
Well exercised in feats of chivalry, 
In manly manner most invincible, 
Young Camber hath, with gold and victual : 
All these, and more, if need shall more require, 
I offer up t'avenge my brother's death. 

Loc. Thanks, loving uncle, and good brother too : 
For this revenge — for this sweet word revenge — 
Must ease and cease my wrongful injuries ; 
And, by the sword of bloody Mars, I swear, 
Ne'er shall sweet quiet enter this my front, 1 
Till I be 'venged on his trait'rous head 
That slew my noble brother Albanact. 
Sound drums and trumpets ; muster up the camp ; — 
For we will straight march to Albania. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III.— The Banks of the River, afterward the 


Enter Humbek, Estrild, Hubba, Thrassier, and 


Hum. Thus are we come, victorious conquerors, 

Unto the flowing current's silver streams — 

1 Brain — he touches his forehead. 

Which, in memorial of our victory, 
Shall be agnominated by our name, 
And talked of by our posterity ! — 
For sure, I hope, before the golden Sun 
Postelh his horses to fair Thetis' plains, 
To see the water turned into blood, 
Changing his bluish hue to rueful red, 
By reason of the fatal massacre 
Which shall be made upon the virent plains. 

The Ghost of Albanact enters, and stretches his Arm 
over Humber. 

Ghost. See how the traitor doth presage his harm ! 
See how he glories at his own decay ! — 
See how he triumphs at his proper loss ! — 
Fortune, vile, unstable, fickle, frad ! 

Hum. Methinks I see both armies in the field ! 
The broken lances climb the crystal skies : 
Some headless lie ; some breathless on the ground ; 
And every place is strewed with carcasses. — 
Behold, the grass hath lost his pleasant green, 
The sweetest sight that ever might be seen. 

Ghost. Ay, traitorous Humber, thou shalt find it so ; 
Yea, to thy cost, thou shalt the same behold, 
With anguish, sorrow, and with sad laments. 
The grassy plains, that now do please thine eyes, 
Shall, ere the night, be colored all with blood ; 
The shady groves that now enclose thy camp, 
And yield sweet savor to thy damned corps, 3 
Shall, ere the night, be figured all with blood ! — 
The profound stream that passeth by thy tents, 
And with his moisture serveth all thy camp, 
Shall, ere the night, converted be to blood — 
Yea, with the blood of these thy straggling boys : 
For now revenge shall ease my lingering grief, 
And now revenge shall glut my longing soul. 

[Ghost disappears. 

Hub. Let come what will, I mean to bear it out, 
And either live with glorious victory, 
Or die with fame renowned for chivalry ! 
He is not worthy of the honeycomb, 
That shuns the hive because the bees have stings ! 
That likes me best that is not got with ease, 
Which thousand dangers do accompany ; 
For nothing can dismay our regal mind, 
Which aims at nothing but a golden crown, 
The only upshot of mine enterprise. 
Were it enchanted in grim Pluto's court, 
And kept for treasure 'mongst his hellish crew, 
I'd either quell the triple Cerberus, 
And all the army of his hateful hags, 
Or roll the stone with wretched Sysiphus. 

Hum. Right martial be thy thoughts, my noble 
And all thy words savor of chivalry ! — [son, 

Enter Segar, in haste. 

But, warlike Segar, what strange accidents 
Make you to leave the warding of the camp ? 

Seg. To arms, my lords, to honorable arms .' — 
Take helm and targe in hand ; — the Britons come, 
With greater multitude than erst the Greeks 
Brought to the ports of Phrygian Tenedos. 

Hum. But what sayeth Segar to these accidents? 
What counsel gives he in extremities ? 

2 " Corps" — in the sense of body ; though it may be corps 
— or body of men. Corse would be the better substitute. 



Seg. Why this, my lord : experience teacheth us 
That resolution is sole help at need ; 
And this, my lord, our honor teacheth us — 
That we be bold in every enterprise. 
Then, since there's no way but to fight or die, 
Be resolute, my lord, for victory. 

Hum. And resolute, Segar, [do] I mean to be ! — 
Perhaps some blissful star will favor us, 
And comfort bring to our perplexed state. 
Come, let us in and fortify our camp, 
So to withstand their strong invasion. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV. — Before the Hovel of a Peasant. 

Enter Struhbo, Tromfart, Oliver, and his Son 

Strum. Nay, neighbor Oliver, if you be so hot, 
come, prepare yourself; you shall find two as stout 
fellows of us as any in all the north. 

OIL No, by my dorth, neighbor Strumbo, Ich zee 
dat you are a man of small 'zideration, dat will zeek 
to injure your old vreends, — one of your vainiliar 
guests ; and, derefore, zeeing your 'pinion is to deal 
withouten reazon, Ich and my zon William will take 
dat course dat shall be fardest vrom reazon. — How 
zay you — will you have my daughter or no ? 

Strum. A very hard question, neighbor ; but I will 
solve it as I may. What reason have you to demand 
it of me ? 

Will. Marry, sir, what reason had you when my 
sister was in the barn to l 

Strum. Mass ! thou sayst true ! Well, but would 
you have me marry her therefore ? No, I scorn her, 
aud you — and you. Ay, I scorn you all. 

OIL You will not have her then ? 

Strum. No, as I am a true gentleman. 

Will. Then will we school you, ere you and we 
part hence. [They fight. 

Enter Margery, who snatches the staff out of her 
Brother's hand. 

Strum. Ay, you come in pudding-time, or else I 
had drest them. 

Mar. You, Master Sauce-box, Lobcock, Coxcomb; 
you Slopsauce, Lickfingers, — will you not hear ? 

Strum. Who speak you to, — me ? 

Mar. Ay, sir, to you — John Lackhonesty, Little- 
Wit, — is it you that will have none of me ? 

Strum. No, by my troth, Mistress Nicebice ! — how 
fine you can nick-name me ! I think you' were 
brought up in the university of Bridewell, you have 
your rhetoric so ready at your tongue's end ; — as if 
you were never well warned when you were young. 

Mar. Why, then, Goodman Codshead, if you will 
have none of me, farewell. 

Strum. If you be so plain. Mistress Driggle-draggle, 
fare you well. 

Mar. Nay, Master Strumbo, ere you go from hence 
we must have more words ; — you will have none of 
me ? [She strikes him. 

Strum. Oh, my head, my head; — leave, leave, 
leave ; — I will, I will, I will. 

Mar. Upon that condition, I let thee alone. 

OIL How now, Master Strumbo ; hath my daugh- 
ter taught you a new lesson ? 

Strum. Ay, but hear you, Goodman Oliver, it will 

i I omit a simple grossness. 

not be for my ease to have my head broken every 
day, therefore remedy this, and we shall agree. 

OH. Well, zon, well, for you are my zon now ; — 
all shall be remedied. Daughter, be friends with him. 

[ They embrace. 

Strum. You are a sweet nut ! — the devil crack 
you [aside]. Masters, I think it be my luck ! — my 
first wife was a loving quiet wench, but this, I think, 
would weary the devil. I would she might be burnt 
as my other wife was ; if not, I must run to the hal- 
ter for help. 0, codpiece, thou hast undone thy mas- 
ter ; this it is to be meddling with warm plackets. 


SCENE Y.— The Camp of Locrine. 

Enter Locrine, Cameer, Corineius, Thrasyma- 
chus, and Assarachus. 

Loc. Now am I guarded with a host of men, 
Whose haughty courage is invincible ! — 
Now am I hemmed with troops of soldiers, 
Such as might force Bellona to retire, 
And make her tremble at their puissance ! — 
Now sit I like the mighty god of war, 
When armed with his coat of adamant, 
Mounting his chariot drawn with mighty bulls, 
He drove the Argives over Xanthus' streams. 
Now, cursed Humber, doth thy end draw nigh ; — 
Down goes the glory of thy victories, 
And all thy fame, and all thy high renown, 
Shall in a moment yield to Locrine's sword ! — 
Thy bragging banners crossed with argent streams. 
The ornaments of thy pavilions, 
Shall all be captivated by this hand ; — 
And thou, thyself, at Albanactus' tomb, 
Shalt offered be, in satisfaction 
Of all the wrongs thou didst him when he lived. 
But canst thou tell me, brave Thrasymachus, 
How far we are distant [now] from Humber's camp ? 

Thrasy. My lord, within yon foul accursed grove 
That bears the tokens of our overthrow, 
This Humber hath entrenched his damned camp. 
March on, my lord, because I long to see 
The treacherous Scythians weltering in their gore. 

Loc. Sweet Fortune, favor Locrine with a smile, 
That I may 'venge my noble brother's death, 
And, in the midst of stately Troynovant, 
I'll build a temple, to thy deity, 
Of perfect marble, and of jacinth stones, 
That it shall pass the high Pyramides, 
Which, with their tops, surmount the firmament. 

Cam. The arm-strong offspring of the 'doubted 
Stout Hercules, Alcmena's mighty son, [knight, 

That tamed the monsters of the threefold world, 
And rid the oppressed from the tyrant's yoke, 
Did never show such valiantness in fight, 
As I will now for noble Albanact. 

Corin. Full fourscore years hath Corineius lived, 
Sometimes in war, sometimes in quiet peace, 
And yet I feel myself to be as strong 
As erst I was in summer of mine age, 
Able to toss this great unwieldy club, 
Which hath been painted with my foemen's brains ; 
And, with this club, I'll break the strong array 
Of Humber, and his straggling soldiers, 
Or lose my life amongst the thickest press, 
And die with honor in my latest days. 



Yet, ere I die, they all shall understand, 
What force lies in stout Corineius' hand. 

Thrasy. And if Thrasymachus detract the fight, 
Either for weakness or for cowardice, 
Let him not boast that Brutus was his eame, 
Or that brave Corineius was his sire. 

Loc. Then, courage, soldiers, for your safety first, 
Next for your peace, last for your victory. [Exeunt. 

SCENE VI.— The Field of Battle. 

Alarums. Enter Hubba and Segar on one side, and 
Corineius opposite. 

Coiin. Art thou that Humber, prince of fugitives, 
That, by thy treason, slew'st young Albanact? 

Hub. I am his son that slew young Albanact, 
And if thou take not heed, proud Phrygian, 
I'll send thy soul unto the Stygian lake, 
There to complain of Humber's injuries. 

Corin. You triumph, sir, before the victory, 
For, not so soon, is Corineius slain. 
But, cursed Scythians, you shall rue the day, 
That ere you came into Albania. [They fight. 

So perish they that envy Britain's wealth, 
So let them die with endless infamy, 
And he that seeks his sovereign's overthrow, 
Would this my club might aggravate his wo. 

[Corineius slays both Hubba and 
Segar, and exit. 

SCENE VII. — Another part of the Field. 

Enter Humber, inflight. 

Hum. Where may I find some desert wilderness, 
AVhere I may breathe out curses as I would, 
And scare the earth with my condemning voice ; — 
Where every echo's repercussion 
May help me to bewail mine overthrow, 
And aid me in my sorrowful laments ? — 
W r here may I find some hollow uncouth rock, 
Where I may damn, condemn, and bau my fill, 
The heavens, the hell, the earth, the air, the fire, 
And utter curses to the concave sky. 
Which may infect the airy regions, 
And light upon the Briton Locrine's head ? — 
You ugly spirits that in Cocytus mourn, 
And gnash your teeth with dolorous laments ; — 
You fearful dogs that in black Lethe howl, 
And scare the ghosts with your wide open throats ; — 
You ugly ghosts that, flying from these dogs, 
Do plunge yourselves in Puryphlegiton ; — 
Come, all of you, and. with your shrieking notes 
Accompany the Briton's conquering host. 
Come fierce Erinnys, horrible with snakes, 
Come, ugly Furies, armed with your whips ; — 
You, threefold judges of black Tartarus, 
And all the army of your hellish fiends ; — 
With new-found torments rack proud Locrine's bones ! 
O gods and stars ! — damned be the gods and stars, 
That did not drown me in fair Thetis' plains ! — 
Curst be the sea, that, with outrageous waves, 
With surging billows, did not rive my ships 
Against the rocks of high Ceraunia, 
Or swallowed me into her watery gulf! — 
Would God, we had arrived upon the shore 
Where Polyphemus and the Cyclops dwell ; — 
Or, where the bloody Anthropophagi, 
With greedy jaws, devour the wand'ring wight. 

Enter the Ghost of Albanact. 

But why comes Albanactus' bloody ghost, 
To bring corrosive 1 to our miseries ? 
Is't not enough to suffer shameful flight, 
But we must be tormented now with ghosts — 
With apparitions fearful to behold ? 

Ghost. Revenge, revenge for blood .' 

Hum. So, naught will satisfy you, wandering ghost, 
But dire revenge ; nothing but Humber's fall ; — 
Because he conquered you in Albany ? 
Now, by my soul, Humber would be condemned 
To Tantalus' hunger, or Ixion's wheel, 
Or to the vulture of Prometheus, 
Rather than that this murder were undone ! 
When, as I die^ I'll drag thy cursed ghost 
Through all the rivers of foul Erebus — 
Through burning sulphur of the limbo-lake, 
To allay the burning fury of that heat 
That rageth in mine everlasting soul ! 

[Exit Humber. 

Ghost. Vindicta ! vindicta ! 




Enter Ate, as before. A dumb Show follows, repre- 
senting Omphale, Daughter to the King of Lydia, 
having a Club in her hand, and a Lion's Skin on her 
back ; Hercules following with a Distaff. Ompha- 
le turns, takes off her Pantofle,* strikes Hercules 
on the head, then departs ; he following submissively. 
Ate remains. 

Ate. Quern non Argolici mandata severa tyranni, 
Non potuit Juno vincere, vicit amor? 
Stout Hercules the mirror of the world, 
Son to Alcmena and great Jupiter, 
After so many conquests won in field, 
After so many monsters quelled by force — 
Yielded his valiant heart to Omphale ; — 
A fearful woman, void of manly strength, 
She took the club, and wore the lion's skin : 
He took the wheel, and maidenly 'gan spin. — 
So martial Locrine, cheered with victory. 
Falleth in love with Humber's concubine, 
And so forgetteth peerless Guendeline. 
His uncle Corineius storms at this, 
And forceth Locrine for his grace to sue ; 
Lo ! here the sum : 4 the process doth ensue. [Exit. 

SCENE II. — The Camp of Locrine. 

Enter Locrine, Camber, Corineius, Assaracus, 
Thrasymachus, and Soldiers. 

Loc. Thus from the fury of Bellona's broils, 
With sound of drum, and trumpet's melody, 
The Briton king returns triumphantly ! — 
The Scythians, slain with great occision, 

1 " A corsive" in the folio. 2 " Pantofle" — slipper. 

3 " Quern non Argolici mandata severa tyranni, 
Non potuit Juno vincere, vicit amor." 
He whom the tyrant's mandate could not move. 
Nor Juno's self subdue, submits to love. 

■* " Sum," for summary ; " process" — the details which are 
to follow. 



Do equalize the grass in multitude; [brooks, 

And with their blood have stained the streaming 

Offering their bodies and their dearest blood 

As sacrifice to Albanactus' ghost. 

Now, cursed Humber, hast thou paid thy due 

For thy deceits and crafty treacheries, 

For all thy guiles and damned stratagems, 

With loss of life, and everduring shame ! 

Where are thy horses, trapped with burnished gold ? 

Thy trampling coursers, ruled with foaming bits ? 

Where are thy soldiers, strong and numberless, 

Thy valiant captains, and thy noble peers ? 

Even as the country clowns, with sharpest scythes, 

Do mow the withered grass from off the earth — 

Or, as the ploughman, with his piercing share, 

Rendeth the bowels of the fertile fields, 

And rippeth up the roots with razors keen — 

So Locrine, with his mighty curtle-axe, 

Hath cropped off the heads of all thy Huns ! — 

So Locrine's peers have daunted all thy peers, 

And drove thine host unto confusion — 

That thou may'st suffer penance for thy fault, 

And die, for murdering valiant Albanact. 

Corin. And thus, yea, thus, shall all the rest be 
That seek to enter Albion 'gainst our will, [served, 
If the brave nation of the Troglodytes — 
If all the coal-black Ethiopians — 
If all the forces of the Amazons — 
If all the hosts of the barbaric lands — 
Should dare to enter this our little world, — 
Soon should they rue their overbold attempts : 
That, after us, our progeny may say, 
There lie the beasts that sought t' usurp our land ! 

Loc. Ay, they are beasts that seek t'usurp our land, 
Aud like to brutish beasts they shall be served ; 
For mighty Jove, the supreme King of heaven, 
That guides the concourse of the meteors, 
And rules the motion of the azure sky — 
Fights always for the Briton's safety. 
But stay : methinks I hear some shrieking noise, 
That draweth near to our pavilion. 

Enter Soldiers, bringing in Estrild. 

Est. What prince soe'er, adorned with golden crown, 
Doth sway the regal sceptre in his hand, 
And thinks no chance can ever throw him down, 

Or that his state shall everlasting stand, 
Let him behold poor Estrild in this plight, 
The perfect platform of a troubled wight. 

Once was I guarded with mavortial bands, 
Compassed with princes of the noblest blood ; 

Now am I fallen into my foemen's hands, 
And, with my death, must pacify their mood. 

Oh, life ! the harbor of calamities, 

Oh, death ! the haven of all miseries ! 

I could compare my sorrows to thy wo, 
Thou wretched queen of wretched Pergamus, 

But that thou viewedst thy enemies' overthrow, 
Nigh to the rock of high Caphareus ; 

Thou saw'st their death, and then departed'st thence: 

I must abide the victor's insolence ! 

The gods, that pitied thy continual grief, 
Transformed thy corse, and with thy corse, thy care : 

Poor Estrild lives, despairing of relief, 
For friends in trouble are but few and rare. 

What said I — fe w ? — ay, few, or none at all, 
For cruel death made havoc of them all. 

Thrice happy they, whose fortune was so good, 
To end their lives, and with their lives their woes ! 

Thrice hapless I, whom Fortune so withstood, 
That cruelly she gave me to my foes ! 

Oh, soldiers ! — is there any misery 

To be compared to Fortune's treachery? 1 

Loc. Camber, this same should be the Scythian 

Cam. So we may judge by her lamenting words. 

Loc. So fair a dame mine eyes did never see ! — 
With floods of wo o'erwhelmed she seems to be. 

Cam. Oh ! Locrine, hath she not a cause for grief?* 

Loc. [aside]. If she hath come to weep for Humber's 
Aud shed salt tears for his [dread] 3 overthrow, [death, 
Locrine may well bewail his proper grief, — 
Locrine may move his own peculiar wo ! 
Humber, 4 being conquered, died a speedy death ; 
I, being the conqueror, live a lingering life, 
And feel the force of Cupid's sudden stroke. 
I gave him cause to die a speedy death : 
He left me cause to wish a speedy death ! 
Oh ! that sweet face, painted with Nature's dye ; 

Those roseal cheeks, mixed with a snowy white ; 
That decent neck, surpassing ivory ; [spite — 

Those comely breasts, which Veffus well might 
Are like to snares by wily fowlers wrought, 
Wherein my yielding heart is pris'ner caught. 
The golden tresses of her dainty hair, 

Which shine like rubies glittering in the sun, 
Have so entrapped poor Locrine's lovesick heart, 5 

That from the same no way it can be won. 
How true is that which oft I've heard declare, 
One drachm of joy must have a pound of care ! 

Est. Hard is their fall, who, from a golden crown, 

Are cast into a sea of wretchedness ! 

Loc. Hard is their thrall, who, [still] by Cupid's 

Are wrapped in waves of endless carefulness ! 

Est. Oh, kingdom, subject to all miseries .'<> 

Loc. Oh, love, extrem'st of all extremities ! 

[Locrine sinks into a seat. 

1 Tieck, the German critic, describes these verses as " the 
beautiful-rhymed stanzas in the fourth act, which so distinct- 
ly remind us of his [Shakspeare's] sonnets, and the ' Venus 
and Adonis,' that these alone would prove the genuineness 
of the drama." While very far from agreeing with Tieck, as 
regarding these stanzas as conclusive of the authenticity of 
the play as one of Shakspeare's, we are yet free to say that 
they do recall the " Venus and Adonis," though evidently 
composed by a less mature intellect. Still, we do not regard 
them by any means as indicative of that higher poetical 
power of which more certain proofs are to be found in this 
drama, in spite of all its crudities of plan and composition. 

2 The words of Camber in the old folio are, " Oh, Locrine, 
hath she not a cause for to be sad '!" We plead guilty to the 
alteration, which is called for by good taste and the rhythm, 
rather than the necessity of the speech. 

3 The original runs thus: "And shed salt tears for her 
overthrow" — a line which lacks in measure, and in which it 
is evident that we must substitute his for " her." 

* The old folio reads, "He being conquered," meaning 
Humber, but really referring to Locrine himself. 

5 The rhyme here fails us. The reader, if he prefer it, 
may read the line thus : — 

" Have so entrapped poor Locrine's heart in snare." 

6 Estrild, in the old copies, is made to say — 

" O kingdom, ohject to all miseries" — 
which is clearly faulty. The kingdom she apostrophizes is 
her fortunes. To speak of them as a kingdom—" a sea of 
wretchedness" — as she does in an immediately preceding 
passage, "subject to all miseries," would seem to be appro- 
priate enough. 



1 Sold. My lord, in ransacking the Scythian tents, 
I found this lady ; and to manifest 

The earnest zeal I bear unto your grace, 
I here present her to your majesty. 

2 Sold. He lies, my lord ; I found the lady first. 
And here present her to your majesty. 

1 Sold. Presumptuous villain, wilt thou take my 

prize ? 

2 Sold. Nay, rather thou depriv'st me of my right. 

3 Sold. Resign thy title, caitiff, unto me, 

Or, with my sword, I'll pierce thy coward loins. 

2 Sold. Soft words, good sir ; 'tis not enough to 
A barking dog doth seldom strangers bite. [speak : 

Loc. Irreverent villains, strive you in our sight? 
Take them hence, gaoler, to the dungeon ; 
There let them lie and try their quarrel out. 
But thou, fair princess, be no whit dismayed, 
But rather joy that Locrine favors thee. 

Est. How can he favor me that slew my spouse ? 

Loc. The chance of war, my love, took him from 

Est. But Locrine was the causer of his death. 

Loc. He was an enemy to Locrine 's state, 
And slew my noble brother Albanact. 

Est. But he was linked to me in marriage-bond, 
And would you have me love his slaughterer ? 

Loc. Better to love, 1 than not to live at all. 

Est. Better to die renowned for chastity, 
Than live with shame and endless infamy. 
What would the common sort report of me, 
If I forget my love, and cleave to thee? 

Loc. Kings need not fear the vulgar sentences. 

Est. But ladies must regard their honest name. 

Loc. Is it a shame to live in marriage-bonds ? 

Est. No, but to be a strumpet to a king. 

Loc. If thou wilt yield to Locrine's burning love, 
Thou shalt be queen of fair Albania. 

Est. But Guendeline will undermine my state. 

Loc. Upon mine honor, thou shalt have no harm. 

Est. Then lo ! brave Locrine, Estrild yields to thee ; 
And, by the gods whom thou dost invocate, 
By the dread ghost of thy deceased sire, 
By thy right hand, and by thy burning love, 
Take pity on poor Estrild's wretched thrall ! 

Corin. Hath Locrine then forgot his Guendeline, 
That thus he courts the Scythian's paramour ? 
What .' are the words of Brute so soon forgot ? 
Are my deserts so quickly out of mind ? 
Have I been faithful to thy sire now dead ? 
Have I protected thee from Humber's hand, 
And dost thou 'quite me with ingratitude? 
Is this the guerdon for my grievous wounds? 
Is this the honor for my labors past ! 
Now. by my sword, Locrine, I swear to thee, 
This injury of thine shall be repaid ! 

Loc. Uncle, scorn you your royal sovereign, 
As if we stood for ciphers in the court ? 
Upbraid you me with these your benefits ? 
Why, 'twas a subject's duty so to do. 
What you have done for our deceased sire, 
We know, and all know, you have your reward. 
Corin. Avaunt, proud princox, brav'st thou me 
withal ? 

l In the original, the line runs — 

" Better to live, than not to live at all" — 
which is meaningless. Locrine means to say, " Better to 
love, and love even your conqueror, than to forego life alto- 
gether," which might otherwise be her fate. 

Assure thyself, though thou be emperor, 
Thou ne'er shalt carry this unpunished. 

Cam. Pardon my brother, noble Corineius ; 
Pardon this once, and it shall be amended. 

Assar. Cousin, remember Brutus' latest words, 
How he desired you to cherish them : 
Let not this fault so much incense your mind, 
Which is not yet passed all remedy. 

Corin. Then, Locrine, lo ! I reconcile myself: 
But, as thou lov'st thy life, so love thy wife ; 
And, 2 if thou violate these promises, 
Blood and revenge shall light upon thy head ! 
Come, let us back to stately Troynovant, 
Where all these matters shall be settled. 

Loc. [aside] . Millions of devils wait upon thy soul ; 
Legions of spirits vex thy impious ghost ; 
Ten thousand torments rack thy cursed bones ! — 
Let everything that hath the use of breath, 
Be instruments and workers of thy death ! [Exeunt. 

SCENE III. — A Forest. 

Enter Humeer, Ms Garments torn and bloody, his Hair 
dishevelled, and armed only with a Spear. 

Hum. What basilisk hath hatched in this place, 
Where everything consumed is to naught ? 
What fearful fury haunts these cursed groves, 
Where not a root is left for Humber's meat ? 
Hath fell Alecto, with envenomed blasts, 
Breathed forth poison on these tender plains ? 
Hath triple Cerberus, with contagious foam, 
Sowed aconit among these withered herbs ? 
Hath dreadful Fames, with her charming-rods, 
Brought barrenness on every fruitful tree ? 
What ! not a root, nor fruit, nor beast, nor bird, 
To nourish Humber in this wilderness ? — 
What would you more, you fiends of Erebus ? 
My very entrails burn for want of drink ! 
My bowels cry to Humber, Give us meat ! — 
But wretched Humber can bestow no meat ; 
These foul, accursed groves afford no meat ; 
This fruitless soil, this ground, brings forth no meat ; 
The gods, hard-hearted gods, yield me no meat ! 
Then how can Humber give you any meat ? 

[Retires back. 

Enter Strumbo, a Pitchfork in his hand, and a Scotch- 
Cap on his head. 

Strum. How do you, masters ? how do you ? How 
have you 'scaped hanging this long time ? I'faith, I 
have 'scaped many a scouring this year, but, I thank 
God, 1 have past them all with a good couragio, and 
my wife and I are in great love and charity now, I 
thank my manhood and my strength : for I will tell 
you, masters, upon a certain day at night I came 
home, to say the very truth, with my stomach fuU of 
wine, and ran up into the chamber, where my wife so- 
berly sat rocking my little baby, leaning her back 
against the bed, singing lullaby. Now, when she saw 
me come with my nose foremost, thinking that I had 
been drunk, as I was indeed, [she] snatched up a fagot- 
stick in her hand, and came furiously marching tow- 
ard me with a big face, as though she would have 
eaten me at a bit — thundering out these words unto 
me : Thou drunken knave, where hast thou been so 
long ? I shall teach thee how to benight me another 
2 "But" in the old folio. 



time ! — and so she began to play knaves trumps. — 
Now, although I trembled, fearing she would set her 
ten commandments 1 in my face, I ran within her, and 
taking her lustily by the middle, I carried her val- 
iantly , 2 and so banished brawling for 

ever. And, to see the good will of the wench, she 
bought with her portion a yard of land, and by that 
I am now become one of the richest men in our par- 
ish. Well, masters, what's o'clock ? It is now break- 
fast time ; you shall see what meat I have here for 
my breakfast. 3 [Sits down and displays food. 

Hum. [coming forward}. Was ever land so fruitless 
as this land ? 
Was ever grove so graceless as this grove ? 
Was ever soil so barren as this soil ? 
Oh, no ! the land where hungry Fames dwelt 
May no ways equalize this cursed land ; 
No, even the climate of the torrid zone 
Brings forth more fruit than this accursed grove. 
Ne'er came sweet Ceres, ne'er came Venus here ; 
Triptolemus, the god of husbandmen, 
Ne'er sowed his seed in this foul wilderness. 
The hunger-bitten dogs of Acheron, 
Chased from the ninefold Puryphlegiton, 
Have set their footsteps in this damned ground. 
The iron-hearted furies, armed with snakes, 
Scattered huge hydras over all the plains, 
Which have consumed the grass, the herbs, the trees, 
Which have drunk up the water-flowing springs. 

[Strumeo, hearing the voice, starts up, puts his 
meat in his pocket, and seeks to hide. 
Thou great commander of the starry sky, 
That guid'st the life of every mortal wight, 
From the enclosures of the fleeting clouds 
Rain down some food, or else I faint and die ; 
Pour down some drink, or else I faint and die ! 

[Seeing Strumbo. 
O Jupiter ! hast thou sent Mercury, 
In clownish shape, to minister some food? — 
Some meat, some meat, some meat ! 

Strum. 0, alas ! sir, you are deceived. I am not 
Mercury ; I am Strumbo. 

Hum. Give me some meat, villain ! give me some 
Or 'gainst this rock I'll dash thy cursed brains, [meat, 
And rend thy bowels with my bloody hands. 
Give me some meat, villain ; give me some meat ! 

Strum. By the faith of my body, good fellow, I had 

rather give a whole ox, than that thou shouldst serve 

me in that sort ! Dash out my brains ? O, horrible! 

terrible ! I think I have a quarry of stones in my 

pocket. [Aside. 

[As he offers food, the Ghost of Albanact enters, 

strikes him on the hand, and Strumbo runs out. 

Humber follows him. 

Ghost. Lo here the gift of fell ambition, 
Of usurpation, and of treachery ! 
Lo here the harms that wait upon all those 
That do intrude themselves in other lands, 
Which are not under their dominion. [Exit Ghost. 

SCENE IV. — A Chamber in the Royal Palace. 

Enter Locrine alone. 

Loc. Seven years hath aged Corineius lived 
To Locrine's grief and fair Estrilda's wo, 

1 Her ten fingers ; the phrase is proverbial. 

2 I have here suppressed an offensive grossness. 

3 This history is addressed to the audience. 

And seven years more he hopeth yet to live ! — 

Oh ! supreme Jove, annihilate this thought ! 

Should he enjoy the air's fruition ? 

Should he enjoy the benefit of life ? 

Should he contemplate [still] the radiant sun, 

That makes my life equal to dreadful death ? 

Venus, convey this monster from the earth, 

That disobeyeth thus thy sacred 'hests. 

Cupid, convey this monster to dark hell, 

That disannuls thy mother's sugared laws. 

Mars, with thy target all beset with flames, 

With murdering blade, bereave him of his life, 

That hindereth Locrine in his sweetest joys ! — 

And yet, for all his diligent aspect, 

His wrathful eyes piercing like lynxes' eyes, 

Well have I overmatched his subtlety. 

Nigh Deucolitum, by the pleasant Lee, 

Where brackish Thamis slides with silver streams, 

Making a breach into the grassy downs, 

A curious arch, of costly marble wrought. 

Hath Locrine framed underneath the ground ; 

The walls whereof, garnished with diamonds, 

With opals, rubies, glistering emeralds, 

And interlaced with sunbright carbuncles, 

Lighten the room with artificial day ; — 

And, from the Lee, with water-flowing pipes, 

The moisture is derived into this arch, 

Where I have placed fair Estrild secretly : — 

Thither, eftsoons, accomp'nied by my page, 

I visit covertly my heart's desire, 

Without suspicion of the meanest eye ; 

For love aboundeth still with policy ; — 

And thither still means Locrine to repair, 

Till Atropos cut ofl mine uncle's life. 4 [Exit. 

SCENE V. — The entrance of a Cave, near which runs 
the River, afterward the Humber. 

Enter Humber, solus. 

Hum. O vita misero longa, fcclici brevis ! 

Eheu malorum fames extremum malum. 5 
Long have I lived in this desert cave, 
With eating haws and miserable roots, 
Devouring leaves and beastly excrements ; 
Caves were my beds, and stones my pillow-biers, 
Fear was my sleep, and horror was my dream ; 
For still me thought, at every boisterous blast, 
Now Locrine comes — now, Humber, thou must die ! 
So that, for fear and hunger, Humber's mind 
Can never rest, but always trembling stands. 
Oh, what Danubius now may quench my thirst ? 
What Euphrates, what lightfoot Euripus, 
May now allay the fury of that heat, 
Which, raging in my entrails, eats me up ? 
Ye ghastly devils of the ninefold Styx, 
Ye damned ghosts of joyless Acheron, 
Ye mournful souls, vexed in Abyssus' vaults, 
Ye coal-black devils of Avernus' pond — 

* Milton thus describes this artificial grotto, and the secret 
intercourse of Estrild and Locrine : Locrine, " ofttimes re- 
tiring, as to some private sacrifice, through vaults and pas- 
sages made under ground, and seven years thus enjoying 
her, had by her a daughter equally fair, whose name was 

6 It is difficult to say why these commonplace lines were 
not done originally into English. They are wholly indepen- 
dent of each other : " vita, misero longa, fcclici brevis .'"— 
O life ! long to the wretched— to the happy, short ! " Eheu 
malorum fames extremum malum" — Alas ! of all evils, hunger 
is the worst 



Come, with your flesh-hooks rend my famished arms, 
These arms that have sustained their master's life ; 
Come, with your razors rip my bowels up ; 
With your sharp fire-forks crack my starved bones ! 
Use me as ye will, so Humber may not live ! — 
Accursed gods, that rule the starry poles, 
Accursed Jove, King of the accursed gods — 
Cast down your lightning on poor Humber's head, 
That I may leave this death-like life of mine .' — 
What ! hear you not, and shall not Humber die ? 
Nay, I will die, though all the gods say nay. 
And, gentle Aby, take my troubled corpse — 
Take it and keep it from all mortal eyes, 
That none may say, when I have lost my breath, 
The very floods conspired 'gainst Humber's death ! 

[Flings himself into the river. 1 

Enter the Ghost of Albanact. 

Ghost. En ccedem sequitur cades, in ccede quiesco !% 
Humber is dead! — joy heavens, leap earth, dance 
Now may'st thou reach thy apples, Tantalus, [trees ! 
And with 'em feed thy hunger-bitten limbs ; 
Now, Sysiphus, leave the tumbling of thy rock, 
And rest thy restless bones upon the same ; 
Unbind Ixion, cruel Rhadamanth, 
And lay proud Humber on the whirling wheel ! 
Back will I post to hell-mouth Tsenarus, 
And pass Cocytus, to the Elysian fields, 
And tell my father Brutus of these news. 

[Exit Ghost. 



Enter Ate, as before. Dumb Show. Jason leading 
Creon's Daughter ; Medea following, hath a Gar- 
land in her hand, and, putting it on Creon's Daugh- 
ter's head, selteth it on fire; then killing Jason and 
her, departs. 

Ate. Non tarn Trinacriis excestuat JEtna caver nis, 
Lcesee furtivo quam cor mulieris amore? 
Medea, seeing Jason leave her love, 
And choose the daughter of the Theban king, 
Went to her devilish charms to work revenge ; 
And,raising up the triple Hecate, 
With all the rout of the condemned fiends, 
Framed a garland by her magic skill, 
With which she wrought Jason and Creon's ill. 
So Guendeline, seeing herself misused, 
And Humber's paramour possess her place, 
Flies to the dukedom of Cornubia, 
And with her brother, stout Thrasymachus, 
Gathering a power of Cornish soldiers, 
Gives battle to her husband and his host, 
Nigh to the river of great Mercia ! — 

1 Milton's history thus : " Locrine and his brother go out 
against Humber, who, now marching onward, was by them 
defeated, and in a river drowned, which to this day retains 
his name." 

2 Lo ! death to death succeeds — in death I rest. 

3 " Non tarn Trinacriis exazstuat JEtna cavernis, 

Lasix furtivo quam cor mulieris amore :" — 
Not with such tumult, in Sicilia's caves. 
Does jEtna rage, as doth the woman's heart, 
When roused to madness by clandestine fires ! 

The chances of this dismal massacre, 

That which ensueth shortly will unfold. [Exit. 

SCENE II. — A Chamber in the Royal Palace. 

Enter Locrine, Camber, Assaracus, and Thra- 

Assar. But tell me, cousin, died my brother so ? 
Now, who is left to hapless Albion, 
That, as a pillar, might uphold our state — 
That might strike terror to our daring foes ? 
Now, who is left to hapless Britany, 
That might defend her from the barbarous hands 
Of those that still desire her ruinous fall, 
And seek to work her downfall and decay ? 

Cam. Ay, uncle, death's our common enemy ; 
And none but death can match our matchless power. 
Witness the fall of Albioneius' crew ; 
Witness the fall of Humber and his Huns ; 
And this foul death hath now increased our wo, 
By taking Corineius from this life, 
And in his room leaving us worlds of care. 

Thrasy. But none may more bewail his mournful 
Than I, that am the issue of his loins ! [hearse 

Now, foul befall that cursed Humber's throat, 
That was the causer of his lingering wound. 

Loc. Tears can not raise him from the dead again. 
But where's my lady-mistress, Guendeline ? 

Thrasy. In Cornwall, Locrine, is my sister now, 
Providing for my father's funeral. 

Loc. And let her there provide her mourning weeds, 
And mourn for ever her own widowhood : 
Ne'er shall she come within our palace-gate, 
To countercheck brave Locrine in his love. 
Go, boy, to Deucolitum, down the Lee, 
Unto the arch where lovely Estrild lies : 
Bring her and Sabren straight unto the court ; 
She shall be queen in Guendeline's room. 
Let others wail for Corineius' death : 
I mean not so to macerate my mind 
For him that barred me from my heart's desire. 4 

Thrasy. Hath Locrine then forsook his Guendeline ? 
Is Corineius' death so soon forgot ? 
If there be gods in heaven, as sure there be — 
If there be fiends in hell, as needs there must — 
They will revenge this thy notorious wrong, 
And pour their plagues upon thy cursed head ! 

Loc. What, prat'st thou, peasant, to thy sovereign? 
Or art thou strucken in some ecstasy ? 
Dost thou not tremble at our royal looks ? 
Dost thou not quake when mighty Locrine frowns ? 
Thou beardless boy, were't not that Locrine scorns 
To vex his mind with such a heartless child, 
With the sharp point of this my battle-axe 
I'd send thy soul to Puryphlegiton. 

Thrasy. Though I be young and of a tender age, 
Yet will I cope with Locrine when he dares. 
My noble father, with his conquering sword, 
Slew the two giant kings of Aquitaine : 
Thrasymachus is not degenerate, 
That he should fear and tremble at the looks 
Or taunting words of a venerean squire. 

Loc. Menacest thou thy royal sovereign ? 
Uncivil, not beseeming such as thou. 

4 "But when once his [Locrine's] fear was off, by the 
death of Corineius, not content with secret enjoyment, di- 
vorcing Guendolen, he made Estrilde now his queen." 




Injurious traitor — for he is no less 

That at defiance standeth with his king — 

Leave these thy taunts, — leave these thy bragging 

words, — 
Unless thou mean'st to leave thy wretched life. 

Thrasy. If princes stain their glorious dignity 
With ugly spots of monstrous infamy, 
They lose their former estimation, 
And throw themselves into a hell of hate. 

Loc. Wilt thou abuse my gentle patience, 
As though thou didst our high displeasure scorn ? 
Proud boy, — that thou may's* know thy prince is 

moved — 
Yea, greatly moved, at this thy swelling pride, — 
We banish thee for ever from our court. 

Thrasy. Then, losel Locrine, look unto thyself: 
Thrasy machus will revenge this injury. [Exit. 

Loc. Farewell, proud boy, and learn to use thy 

Assar. Alas ! my lord, you should have called to 
The latest words that Brutus spake to you : [mind 
How he desired you, by the obedience 
That children ought to bear [unto] their sire, 
To love and favor Lady Guendeline : 
Consider this, that, if the injury 
Do move her mind, as certainly it will, 
War and dissension follow speedily. 
What though her power be not so great as yours, 
Have you not seen a mighty elephant 
Slain by the biting of a silly mouse ? — 
Even so the chance of war inconstant is. 

Loc. Peace, uncle, peace, and cease to talk hereof; 
For he that seeks, by whispering this or that, 
To trouble Locrine in his sweetest life, 
Let him persuade himself to die the death. 

Enter the Page, with Estrild and Sabren. 

Est. O, say me, page, [and] tell me, where's the 
Wherefore doth he send for me to the court ? [king ? 
Is it to die ? — is it to end my life ? 
Say me, sweet boy: tell me, and do not feign. 

Page. No, trust me, madam ; if you will credit the 
little honesty that is yet left me, there is no such 
danger as you fear ; — but prepare yourself: yonder's 
the king. 

Est. Then, Estrild, lift thy dazzled spirits up, 
And bless that blessed time, that day, that hour, 
That warlike Locrine first did favor thee. — 
Peace to the king of Britany — my love ! — 
Peace to all those that love and favor him ! 

[She kneels. 

Loc. [raising her]. Doth Estrild fall, with such sub- 
Before her servant, king of Albion ? [mission, 
Arise, fair lady, leave this lowly cheer ; 
Lift up those looks that cherish Locrine's heart, 
That I may freely view that roseal face 
Which so entangled hath my lovesick breast. 
Now, to the court, where we will court it out, 
And pass the night and day in Venus' sports. 
Frolic, brave peers ; be joyful with your king ! 


SCENE III.— The Camp of Guendeline. 

Enter Guendeline, Thrasymachus, Madan, and 

Guen. Ye gentle winds, that, with your modest 


Pass through the circuit of the heavenly vault, 

Enter the clouds unto the throne of Jove, 

And bear my prayer to his all-hearing ears ! — 

For Locrine hath forsaken Guendeline, 

And learned to love proud Humber's concubine. 

Ye happy sprites that, in the concave sky, 

With pleasant joy, enjoy your sweetest love, 

Shed forth those tears with me, which then you shed, 

When first you wooed your ladies to your wills ! — 

Those tears are fittest for my woful case, 

Since Locrine shuns my nothing-pleasant face. 

Blush heavens, blush sun, and hide thy shining beams, 

Shadow thy radiant locks in gloomy clouds — 

Deny thy cheerful light unto the world, 

Where nothing reigns but falsehood and deceit ! 

What said I ? — falsehood ? — ay, that filthy crime : 

For Locrine hath forsaken Guendeline. 

Behold ! the heavens do wail for Guendeline : 

The shining sun doth blush for Guendeline : 

The liquid air doth weep for Guendeline : 

The very ground doth groan for Guendeline '. 

Ay, they are milder than is Britain's king, 

For he rejecteth luckless Guendeline. 

Thrasy. Sister ! complaints are bootless in this 
cause ! — 
This open wrong must have an open plague ; 
This plague must be repaid with grievous war ; 
This war must finish [soon] with Locrine's death : 
His death will soon extinguish our complaints. 

Guen. O no, his death will more augment my woes ! 
He was my husband, brave Thrasymachus ; 
More dear to me than th'apple of mine eye ; 
Nor can I find in heart to work his scath. 

Thrasy. Madam, if not your proper injuries, 
Nor my exile, can move you to revenge — 
Think on our father Corineius' words ; — 
His words to us stand always for a law. 
Should Locrine live, that caused my father's death ? 
Should Locrine live, that now divorceth you ? 
The heavens, the earth, the air, the fire, reclaims : 
And then why should we all deny the same ? 

Guen. Then, henceforth, farewell womanish com- 
plaints ! — 
All childish pity henceforth, then, farewell ! — 
But, cursed Locrine, look unto thyself, 
For Nemesis, the mistress of revenge, 
Sits armed at all points on our dismal blades ; 
And curse"d Estrild, that inflamed his heart, 
Shall, if I live, die a reproachful death ! 

Madan. Mother, though nature makes me to lament 
My luckless father's froward lechery — 
Yet — for he wrongs my lady-mother thus — 
I, if I could, myself would work his death. 

Thrasy. See, madam, see, the desire of revenge 
Is in the children of a tender age. — 
Forward, brave soldiers, into Mercia, 
Where we shall brave the coward to his face. 


SCENE IV.— The Camp of Locrine. 

Enter Locrine, Estrild, Sabren, Assaracus, and 

Loc. Tell me, Assaracus, are the Cornish chuffs 
In such great number come to Mercia ? 
And have they pitched there their [clownish] host, 
So close unto our royal mansion ? 



Assar. They are, my lord, and mean incontinent 
To bid defiance to your majesty. 

Loc. It makes me laugh, to think that Guendeline 
Should have the heart to come in arms against me. 

Est. Alas ! my lord, the horse will run amain 
When as the spur doth gall him to the bone ! 
Jealousy, Locrine, hath a wicked sting. 

Loc. Say'st thou so, Estrild — beauty's paragon ? 
Well, we will try her choler to the proof, 
And make her know, Locrine can brook no braves. 
March on, Assaracus : thou must lead the way, 
And bring us to their proud pavilion. [Exeunt. 

SCENE V.— The Field of Battle. 

Thunder and Lightning. Enter the Ghost of Corin- 

Ghost. Behold ! the circuit of the azure sky 
Throws forth sad throbs, 1 and grievously suspires, 
Prejudicating Locrine's overthrow : 
The fire casteth forth sharp darts of flames ; 
The great foundation of the triple world 
Trembleth and quaketh with a mighty noise, 
Presaging bloody massacres at hand. 
The wand'ring birds that flutter in the dark, 
When hellish Night, in cloudy chariot seated, 
Casteth her mists on shady Tellus' face, 
With sable mantles covering all the earth — 
Now fly abroad, amid the cheerful day, 
Foretelling some unwonted misery. 
The snarling curs of darkened Tartarus, 
Sent from Avernus' ponds by Rhadamanth, 
With howling ditties pester every wood. 
The watery ladies, 2 and the lightfoot fawns, 
And all the rabble of the woody nymphs, 
Trembling, all hide themselves in shady groves, 
And shroud themselves in hideous, hollow pits. 
The boisterous Boreas thund'reth forth revenge : 
The stony rocks cry out for sharp revenge : 
The thorny bush pronounceth dire revenge ! — 

Now, Corineius, stay and see revenge — 
And feed thy soul with Locrine's overthrow ! 
Behold, they corne ; the trumpets call them forth ; 
The roaring drums summon the soldiers ! 
Lo where their army glistereth on the plains ! 
Throw forth thy lightnings, mighty Jupiter, 
And pour thy plagues on cursed Locrine's head ! 

[Ghost disappears. 

Enter Locrine, Estrild, Assaracus, Sabren, and 
Soldiers, on one side ; Thrasymachus, Guende- 
line, Madan, and their Followers, opposite. 

Loc. What ! is the tiger started from his cave ? 
Is Guendeline come from Cornubia, 
That thus she braveth Locrine to the teeth? — 
And hast thou found thine armor, pretty boy, 
Accompanied with these thy straggling mates ? 
Believe me, but this enterprise was bold, 
And well deserveth commendation. 

Guen. Ay, Locrine, trait'rous Locrine, we are come, 
With full pretence to seek thine overthrow. 

1 A correspondent suggests that we should read sobs for 
" throbs." Either word will answer. Perhaps we might 
read, " throes with sad throbs." The last two words, which 
were " grievous suepirs," I have altered to grievously sus- 
pires—a. correction absolutely called for by the verse. 

2 A phrase which would scarcely satisfy naiad or nereid. 

What have I done, that thou shouldst scorn me thus ? 

What have I said, that thou shouldst me reject? 

Have I been disobedient to thy words? 

Have I bewrayed thy arcane secrecy ? 

Have I dishonored thy marriage-bed 

With filthy crimes or with lascivious lusts ? — 

Nay, it is thou that hast dishonored it : 

Thy filthy mind, o'ercome with filthy lusts, 

Yieldeth unto affection's filthy darts. 

Unkind, thou wrong'st thy first and truest fair ; 3 

Unkind, thou wrong'st thy best and dearest friend; 

Unkind, thou scorn'st .all skilful Brutus' laws, 

Forgetting, father, uncle, and thyself. 

Est. Believe me, Locrine, but the girl is wise, 
And well would seem to make a vestal nun : 
How finely frames she her oration ! 

Thrasy. Locrine, we came not here to fight with 
Words, that can never win the victory ; [words — 
But — for you are so merry in your frumps — 
Unsheath your swords, and try it out by force, 
That we may see who hath the better hand. 

Loc. Think'st thou to dare me, bold Thrasymachus ? 
Think'st thou to fear me with thy taunting braves, 
Or do we seem too weak to cope with thee ? 
Soon shall I show thee my fine-cutting blade, 
And with my sword, the messenger of death, 
Seal thee a quittance for thy bold attempts. [Exeunt. 

SCENE VL— The entrance of a Cave. 

Alarums. Enter Locrine and Estrild, inflight. 

Loc. fair Estrilda, we have lost the field .' 
Thrasymachus hath won the victory, 
And we are left to be a laughing-stock, 
Scoffed at by those that are our enemies. 
Ten thousand soldiers, armed with sword and shield, 
Prevail against an hundred thousand men. 
Thrasymachus, incensed with fuming ire, 
Rageth amongst the faintheart soldiers, 
Like to grim Mars, when, covered with his targe, 
He fought with Diomedes in the field, 
Close by the banks of silver Simois. [Alarums. 

O, lovely Estrild, now the chase begins : 
Ne'er shall we see the stately Troynovant, 
Mounted with coursers garnished all with pearls ; 
Ne'er shall we view tBe fair Concordia, 
Unless as captives we be thither brought. 
Shall Locrine then be taken prisoner 
By such a youngling as Thrasymachus ? 
Shall Guendeline [then] captivate my love ? 
Ne'er shall mine eyes behold that dismal hour ; 
Ne'er will I view that ruthful spectacle ; 
For, with my sword, this sharpest curtle-axe, 
I'll cut in sunder my accursed heart ! 
But 0, ye judges of the ninefold Styx, 
Which, with incessant torments, rack the ghosts 
Within the bottomless Abyssus' pits ; 
Ye gods, commanders of the heavenly spheres, 
Whose will and laws irrevocable stand — 
Forgive, forgive this foul, accursed sin ! — 
Forget, gods, this foul, condemned fault ! — 
And now, my sword, that, in so many fights, 

[Kisses his sword. 
Hast saved the life of Brutus and his son, 
End now his life that wisheth still for death, 
Work now his death that hateth still his life ! 
3 " Fear" in former editions. 



Farewell, fair Estrild, beauty's paragon, 
Framed in trie front of forlorn miseries, 
Ne'er shall mine eyes behold thy sunshine eyes, 
But when we meet in the Elysian fields : 
Thither I go before with hastened pace. 
Farewell, vain world, and thy enticing snares ! 
Farewell, foul sin, and thy enticing pleasures ! 
And welcome, death, the end of mortal smart, 
Welcome to Locrine's overburdened heart ! 

[Stabs himself. 
Est. Break, heart, with sobs and grievous [sad] sus- 
pires ! 
Stream forth, ye tears, from out my wat'ry eyes ! 
Help me to mourn for warlike Locrine's death ; 
Pour down your tears, you watery regions, 
For mighty Locrine is bereft of life ! 
0, fickle fortune ! 0, unstable world ! 
What else are all things, that this globe contains, 
But a confused chaos of mishaps ? 
Wherein, as in a glass, we plainly see 
That all our life is but a tragedy. 
Since mighty kings are subject to mishap — 
Since martial Locrine is bereft of life — 
Shall Estrild live, then, after Locrine's death? 
Shall love of life bar her from Locrine's sword ? 
no ! — this sword, that hath bereft his life, 
Shall now deprive me of my fleeting soul : 
Strengthen these hands, mighty Jupiter ! 
That I may end my woful misery ! 
Locrine, I come ! Locrine, I follow thee ! l 

[Kills herself. 

Alarums Enter Sabren. 

Sab. What doleful sight, what ruthful spectacle, 
Hath Fortune offered to my hapless heart ? 
My father slain with such a fatal sword ! — 
My mother murdered by a mortal wound ! — 
What Thracian dog, what barbarous myrmidon, 
Would not relent at such a ruthful case ? 
What fierce Achilles, what hard, stony flint, 
Would not bemoan this mournful tragedy ? 
Locrine, the map of magnanimity, 
Lies slaughtered in his foul, accursed cave ; — 
Estrild, the perfect pattern of renown — 
Nature's sole wonder — in whose beauteous breasts 
All heavenly grace and virtue were enshrined — 
Both massacred, are dead within this cave ; 
And with them dies fair Pallas and sweet Love ! 
Here lies a sword, and Sabren hath a heart : 
This blessed sword shall cut my cursed heart, 
And bring my soul unto my parents' ghosts — 
That they that live, and view our tragedy, 
May mourn our case with mournful plauditees. 

[Offers to kill herself. 
Ah me ! my virgin's hands are too, too weak, 
To penetrate the bulwark of my breast !_ 
My fingers, used to tune the amorous lute, 
Are not of force to hold this steely glaive ; — 
So am I left to wail my parents' death, 
Not able for to work my proper death ! — 
Ah, Locrine, honored for thy nobleness ! 

1 Milton thus : " Guendolen, all in rage, departs into Corn- 
wall, where Madan, the son she had by Locrine, was hith- 
erto brought up by Corineius, his grandfather ; and, gather- 
ing an army of her father's friends and subjects, gives battle 
to her husband, by the river Sture : wherein Locrine, shot 
with an arrow, ends his life." 

Ah, Estrild, famous for thy constancy ! 

Ill may they fare that wrought your mortal ends ! 

[Retires back. 

Enter Guendeline, Thrasymachus, Madan, and 

Guen. Search, soldiers, search ! — find Locrine and 
his love ! 
Find the proud strumpet, Humber's concubine, 
That I may change those her so pleasing looks, 
Into a pale and ignominious aspect. 
Find me the issue of their cursed love — 
Find me young Sabren, Locrine's only joy — 
That I may glut my mind with lukewarm blood, 
Swiftly distilling from the bastard's breast ! 
My father's ghost still haunts me for revenge, 
Crying. Revenge my over-hastened death ! 
My brother's exile, and mine own divorce, 
Banish remorse clean from my brazen heart — 
All mercy from mine adamantine breast. 

Thrasy. Nor doth thy husband, lovely Guendeline, 
That wonted was to guide our starless steps, 
Enjoy this light. See where he murdered lies, 
By luckless lot and froward, frowning fate ; — 
And by him lies his lovely paramour, 
Fair Estrild. gored with a dismal sword ; — 
And, as it seems, both murdered by themselves, 
Clasping each other in their feebled arms, 
With loving zeal — as if, for company, 
Their uncontented corses were content 
To pass foul Styx in Charon's ferry-boat. 

Guen. And hath proud Estrild then prevented me ? 
Hath she escaped Guendelina's wrath, 
By violently cutting off her life ? 
Would God she had the monstrous Hydra's lives, 
That every hour she might have died a death, 
Worse than the swing of old Ixion's wheel — 
And every hour revive to die again ! 
As Titius, bound to houseless Caucason, 
Doth feed the substance of his own mishap, 
And every day, for want of food, doth die, 
And, every night, doth live again to die. 
But stay: methinks I hear some fainting voice, 
Mournfully weeping for their luckless death. 

[Sabren comes forward. 

Sab. Ye mountain-nymphs, that in these deserts 
Cease from your hasty chase of savage beasts ; 
Prepare to see a heart, oppressed with care ; 
Address your ears to hear a mournful style : 
No human strength, no words, 2 can work my weal, 
Care in my heart so tyrant-like doth deal. 
Ye Dryades and lightfoot Satyri — 
Ye gracious fairies, who, at eventide, 
Your closets leave with heavenly beauty stored, 
And on your shoulders spread your golden locks — 
Ye savage bears in caves and darkened dens — 
Come, wail with me the martial Locrine's death ; 
Come, mourn with me for beauteous Estrild's death ! 
Ah ! loving parents, little do ye know 
What sorrow Sabren suffers for your thrall ! 

Guen. But may this be, and is it possible ? — 

2 " Work" is the word in the folio. A correspondent sug- 
gests worth. I prefer words, as she has just before, in the 
previous line, appealed to the moiintain-nymphs " to hear a 
mournful style/' which she instantly abandons, saying, " No 
words can work my weal." 



Lives Sabren yet to expiate my wrath ? 
Fortune, I thank thee for this courtesy : 
And let me never see one prosperous hour, 
If Sabren die not a reproachful death. 

Sab. Hard-hearted Death, that, when the wretched 
Art farthest off, and seldom hear'st at all, [call, 

But in the midst of Fortune's good success, 
Uncalled comes, and shears our life in twain .' 
When will that hour, that blessed hour, draw nigh, 
When poor, distressed Sabren may be gone ? — 
Sweet Atropos, cut off my fatal thread ! — 
What art thou, Death ? — shall not poor Sabren die ? 

Guen. [advancing]. Yes, damsel, yes ! Sabren shall 
surely die, 
Though all the world should seek to save her life j 
And not a common death shall Sabren die : 
But, after strange and grievous punishments, 
Shortly inflicted on thy bastard head, 
Thou shalt be cast into the cursed streams, 
And feed the fishes with thy tender flesh. 

Sab. And think'st thou, then, thou cruel homicide, 
That these thy deeds shall be unpunished ? 
No, traitor, no ! the gods will 'venge these wrongs ;— 
The fiends of hell will mark these injuries. 
Ne'er shall these blood-sucking, [these] mastiff 1 curs, 
Bring wretched Sabren to her latest home. 
For I, myself, in spite of thee and thine, 
Mean to abridge my former destinies ; 
And that which Locrine's sword could not perform, 
This present stream shall present bring to pass.2 

[She flings herself into the river. 

Guen. One mischief follows on another's neck ! 
Who would have thought so young a maid as she, 
With such a courage would have sought her death ? 
And — for because this river was the place 

1 " Masty" in the old editions. 

* Milton somewhat differs from this story. He says : 
" But not so ends the fury of Guendolen ; for Estrildis and 
her daughter Sabra she throws into a river ; and, to leave a 
monument of revenge, proclaims that the stream be thence- 
forth called after the damsel's name, which, by length of 
time, is changed now to Sabrine, or Severn." Milton refers 
to this incident in his " Comus." He deifies the damsel :— 
" There is a gentle nymph not far from hence, 
That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream : 
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure ; 
Whilome she was the daughter of Locrine, 
That had the sceptre from his father Brute. 
She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit 
Of her enrage"d stepdame, Guendolen, 
Commended her fair innocence to the flood, 
That stayed her flight with his cross-flowing course." 

Where little Sabren resolutely died— 
Sabren, for ever, shall this same^ be called. 
And as for Locrine, our deceased spouse, 
Because he was the son of mighty Brute, 
To whom we owe our country, lives, and goods, 
He shall be buried in a stately tomb, 
Close by his aged father Brutus' bones, 
With such great pomp and great solemnity 
As well beseems so brave a prince as he. 
Let Estrild lie 4 without the shallow vaidt, 
Without the honor due unto the dead, 
Because she was the author of this war. 
Retire, brave followers, unto Troynovant, 
Where we will celebrate these exequies, 
And place young Locrine' 1 in his father's tomb. 

Enter Ate. 

Ate. Lo here the end of lawless treachery, 6 
Of usurpation, and ambitious pride ; — 
And they, that for their private amours, dare 
Turmoil our land, and set their broils abroach, 
Let them be warned by these premises ; — 
And, as a woman was the only cause 
That civil discord was then stirred up, 
So let us pray for that renowned maid, 
That eight-and-thirty years the sceptre swayed 
In quiet peace and sweet felicity ; 7 
And every wight that seeks her grace's smart, 
Would that this sword were pierced in his heart ! 


3 A correspondent suggests that for " this same," we should 
read " this stream" — an alteration which would be a decided 
improvement upon the tame and feeble language which is 

* " Let Estrild be," is the language of the ancient folio. 

6 " Young Locrine" would seem to be a strange epithet on 
the lips of his younger wife. Should it not be " your Lo- 
crine V 

6 Is it not just as likely that Ate meant to say lechery ? 

1 This passage fixes the date of one performance of " Lo- 
crine," the thirty-eighth year of the reign of Elizabeth. It 
is by no means conclusive of its original production or ex- 
hibition ; only, of one performance, at this period, the copy 
used then being that from which the publication was subse- 
quently made. The MS. might have been altered a hundred 
times, and, for aught we know, have been used for the reigns 
before and after. This is mentioned, as these three lines 
might be assumed as of positive authority in determining 
the question of authorship. The old dramatists and the 
managers altered their plays very frequently, to suit the 
reign and the occasion, availing themselves of every current 
event which might enable them to make a popular hit du- 
ring the performance.